Little lost bears

9:38 PM. A day of traveling tired. We tuck in our little one as we pull blankets and pillows from suitcases. “Where’s Kiki?” I ask of the cherished stuffed bear that’s slept with our little guy every night since infancy. More shuffling of bags ensues and tinges of worry creep in.

Rewind. 9:38 AM. Quickly dodging beach traffic as we leave our vacation. We turn down side streets hoping to miss the stand still that’s inevitable on Saturday mornings. IT HITS! Vomit projects from the car seat next to me, all over an iPad and a Tetris-like arrangement of luggage. We pull over. A flurry of wiping down little arms, legs, iPad, suitcases pulled out and scrubbed off before we hit the road again.

Fast forward. 10:38 PM. The little guy is sound asleep. We never told him his precious Kiki is missing, glossing over it at bedtime. Our searching begins. The car double-checked, bags torn open, and the gas station we stopped at called and searched.

I think about praying, what I used to do when something precious went missing. What I did before I began to wonder about God and his control. When I believed He could control everything.

So I take a moment and acknowledge that I used to pray, that I would’ve asked God to help us find our lost bear. I think about what would happen if we never found the bear, how painful it would be if I prayed and it never showed up.

My thoughts rush to people who have prayed for a loved one to be healed, for a job to be gained, for the abuse to stop, only to continue in their suffering, grief, and heartache.

How thankful I am that God’s love for me is no longer wrapped up in his control? How lonely I would feel if an all controlling god who could change my painful circumstances chose not to?

So instead of praying, I think abour God in that moment. What if “all powerful” might not mean “all-controlling” but instead might mean “all-loving?”

As a last ditch effort to find Kiki, I send off a hope in the form of a Facebook post.

11:38 PM. The bear has been found. Because of the Facebook post. Because of the very loving nature of people. Because of some very skillful searching.

In this seemingly insignificant sadness, I’m thankful that I don’t have to imagine a loving God who chooses not to reunite my son with his bear but instead loves us so fiercely and might not be able to.

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