What My 11 Month Old Taught Me About Dealing With Difficulty

“Bath time” at my house is currently quite the ordeal. It begins as soon as the water begins splashing the floor of the tub. For some reason, that sound activates something in our son, Asher, unlike anything else.

Regardless of what he is doing, he immediately stops and “speed crawls” towards the bathroom. Then, wide-eyed and all smiles he will lift himself up to the edge of the tub and eagerly wait to be dunked into the water.

He loves it. He splashes, giggles, and squeals with excitement the entire time. Well, except for one part…

Once I have put shampoo in his hair (and probably formed him a Mohawk hairdo) I take a large cup of water and dump it over his head.

However, when I do this, Asher always panics. With water pouring over his face and unable to see – he will begin to blindly reach for help. Within a matter of seconds, though, it’s over. The water is gone and all is well.

It was during this moment the other night that God spoke something powerful into my spirit. For the first time, I took notice that Asher wasn’t just panicking and reaching blindly. He was reaching for me.

With no idea as to why water was pouring over his head or when it would stop, his default reaction was to reach for his father.

The more I thought about it, the more I felt God presenting me with a short, simple idea:

“Tyler, what if your first reaction to difficulty was reaching for me like that?”

As I stared at my son who was already back to giggling and splashing, the power of that question began to overtake my mind.

I began to realize just how often that isn’t my first reaction.

Sure, most of the time I do eventually get around to trusting God. But my first reaction? Not so sure I can say that it is.

Far too often, I allow my circumstances to dictate my initial reaction to my problems.

When something scary comes along? Here comes the fear!

When something disappointing happens? Here comes the depression!

When something painful occurs? Here comes the heartache!

The problem with “eventually getting around to trusting God” is the time you waste getting there. When your response is dictated by your distress, you will live as a slave to your situation. And whatever time you spend being a victim, is time you could be spending in victory.

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But what if you did make “reaching for God” your initial reaction to difficulty?

What if, instead of reaching for worry – you reached for His Word? Instead of living as a slave to your situation – you lived as a child of the King? Instead of stepping out in fear – you started stepping out in faith?

The amazing thing is – you can.

Resolving to respond through Christ isn’t easy, but it is possible. I, by no means, have perfected the art of it. But I’m learning that the more often that I make the choice to reach towards God amidst my problems, the more natural it becomes.

Like anything else, it requires practice.

In the story of Peter walking on water, we like to give Peter a hard time about taking his eyes off of Jesus and nearly drowning. It’s easy to look at the story and just say, “he shouldn’t have taken his eyes off of Jesus.”

And sure, that’s true, he shouldn’t have.

But he did. And we all do. None of us who are following after Jesus keep our eyes on Him the way that we should. The reality is, we are all going to take our eyes off of Jesus. At some point, we are all going to find ourselves drowning and flailing our arms wildly in confusion.

The important thing is when that happens, where are you going to run? Where are you going to reach? What is your response going to be?

When Peter found himself to be drowning, he was terrified, but his response was to reach out to Jesus.

But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted. Matthew 14:30

Truthfully, I want my default response to difficulty to look a lot like my 11 Month Old’s response. Even when I’m not sure what is happening around me, even when I don’t know how it is going to end, and even when I’m ready to give up – I pray I simply respond by reaching towards the arms of my loving Father.

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