My sons love the water. Pools, ponds, lakes, oceans… it doesn’t matter. They want to swim all day long.
Since we live in Indiana and winters get pretty cold, there is a long stretch of time that they do little swimming. So they substitute with the tub.
They love bath time. They would stay in the bath for hours if we would let them.
Well, there is this thing that happens every once in awhile. If a kid is three years old or younger, there are some surprises that come out sometimes. It doesn’t happen during every bath – not even most – but occasionally, they will… deposit… something into the tub. That’s right, they get all excited because there is a new toy, but really…
I’m trying to be discrete, but let’s be honest – it’s dookie. Kids poop in the tub, okay?
As soon as that happens, the fiasco begins. I swoop in and grab the kids out of the tub, and they start crying. I have to drain the water, remove the poop, clean out the tub, then stick the kids back in and clean them.
They are all upset because, from their perspective, they were having fun in one of the greatest places on earth, and I ruined it by pulling them out and making them stand in the bathroom.
You see, they don’t understand the dangers of swimming in a bathtub with poop in it. I, an educated adult, know that swimming in poop-water is not healthy. I don’t know the chemistry behind the dangers, and I’m not exactly sure what will happen if I let them continue swimming in the tub-o-poo, but I’m pretty sure it is a bad idea.
But to my sons, who don’t fully understand my teaching of “No playing in poopy bath water,” I am mean. I am imposing my beliefs on them because I don’t want them to have any fun.
In actuality, I love to see my boys having fun. There’s not much greater in this life than seeing my children laughing and enjoying themselves. But I know something that they don’t know yet. I can see the big picture. I want them to have fun now, but more importantly, I don’t want them to get sick.
When I pull my kids out of the poop-infested water, I am doing it because I love them, and someday they will understand (hopefully). When they are 18 (who knows, maybe earlier), we will have a conversation. I will tell them the story about how they used to poop in the tub and I would take them out of the water and clean them. I’d like to imagine that they will say, “Yeah, what was I thinking? Thanks for watching out for us, Dad.”
There are a lot of things that we don’t understand about God. There are sometimes rules that don’t make sense to us, but we have to believe that God can see the bigger picture. He wants to see us happy, but more importantly, He is thinking about our future, especially our eternal future.
Sometimes the world around us is pooping in our tub, and God is telling us to stay away. Not because He wants us to be miserable, but so that we can experience life abundantly (John 10:10). Sometimes we might not always understand, but we can trust that God loves us and maybe, someday we will understand. But until then, let’s just try to stay out of poop-water.