I tucked her tight into the top bunk, kissed her face, and turned to leave the room. But, she propped herself up on one elbow and grabbed my hand. She whispered the burning question to avoid waking her brother.
What is ebola?
I wasn’t surprised to hear these words or see the worried expression on her sweet face. She misses nothing. And, she considers everything.
I reassured her as parents do, kissed her cheeks, whispered I-love-yous and left her there, my natural-born worrier, safe under a Minnie Mouse comforter on a warm October evening.
It turns out that Adelade already knew some things about ebola. She knew that it is a terrible illness. She knew that there is a confirmed case in Dallas. And, she knew about this mascot, which she had seen a glimpse of while her daddy watched ESPN:
This is the Jacksonville Jaguars mascot, attempting to make fun of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ fans “terrible towels” that they swing around at games. Some people who saw this were probably entertained. Others were offended. But, I know at least one nine year old girl who saw this and took it to heart: towels carry ebola. She asked me if this is true. I could see her little mind trying to make sense of this sign, and the only conclusion that she could come to, with her limited information, was that towels carry ebola. And, she wanted to know which towels, where.
Adelade was missing some vital information about this picture, and without it she could only go by what she was seeing with her own two eyes. And, according to her calculations, nothing good could come of a statement like “towels carry ebola.” The world is such a confusing place for kids.
And, the truth is that it’s not that much better for adults. Many of the reassurances I offer my children are delivered through a fog of my own worries and uneasiness about the unknown of it all. But, tonight I was reminded of an important truth about God and His plans. We human beings live our lives with limited knowledge. We see things happening, and based on what we know and can understand, it’s difficult to see how anything good could come out of these things in the end. We lie in bed at night and wring our hands and wonder how it all turns out and why things don’t make sense.
But, the truth is that we are just like nine year olds who see a glimpse of truth here and a glimpse there and a lie here and a joke there, and we take all of this very limited life knowledge and we try to fit God into it, as if He operates only according to what our minds can know. God sees every single piece of the infinite puzzle. And, we see fourteen pieces and we doubt and worry like a nervous little girl in her Mickey Mouse bed.
We may not understand many of the things that happen in our world. We may face tragedy and sadness and loneliness and heartache. But, we know that God is absolute truth. He is good. He is sovereign. And, He has His mighty hand on every little aspect of this world, of our lives. So, when we’re tempted to fret and fear over the few pieces of life that we can see, let’s remember that God sees everything else. Not only does He see it, He is God of it. And, we can trust that He is working everything out, even the things we don’t know about, for good.
That’s why, even when I am feeling a little shaky, too, I can reassure my kids that no matter what happens God is near, and He is firmly in control. We can trust Him.
In case you’re wondering, the Jacksonville Jaguars organization did have to issue an apology for making light of the ebola scare. Maybe I should write them and tell them they owe one more apology, to a precious freckle-faced nine year old. I’m so glad I can tell her, when the worry sets in, that God is good. Because He is.