How Your Toddler’s Meltdown Can Illustrate God’s Care for You

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My two-year-old melted down while playing “mail” in her room. She has a toy fabric-house with a mail slot cut into its door. Her desire was to slide an envelope through the mail slot and then check the mail. But things didn’t go well. She had ripped the envelope earlier on and could not put the card in the envelope on her own. As you might expect if you are a parent, she had a meltdown.  

She flew into my arms, cried, and needed to tell me about what made her upset. She was frustrated. But after resting in my arms for a bit and with a little help from “daddy,” her frustration and worry evaporated.

This simple, everyday event points to a divine reality. In the same way that I care for my daughter, God cares for us. When I am frustrated, anxious, and worried, I can rest in his mighty arm. And he will bear my worries and frustrations if I hand them over to him.

Peter gives us the words to explain God’s care for us when he writes:

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:6–7)

According to Peter, true humility means knowing our limits and entrusting our worries to God who is limitless. True humility means not exalting in ourselves by relying on our abilities but relying on God who can do anything. 

We can throw ourselves under God’s mighty hand like my daughter threw herself into my open arms. I may not have a “mighty arm” like God does, but my daughter doesn’t seem to mind. And as my daughter can trust me to love and to care for her, so also can we trust God because “he cares for you.”

And we should not be too surprised at Peter’s teaching here. After all, he did hear Jesus say:

Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:3–4)

Peter must have taken the lesson. He knew that humbling himself looked like giving his worries over to God. He knew that he needed a childlike humility. And so he encourages the same sort of trust in God in his letter (i.e., 1 Peter).

When my two-year-old rests under my “mighty arm” and tells me what makes her upset, she shows me the kind of humility that I need. She shows me that I need to rest in God’s mighty arm and give him all my worries.

And my toddler’s reliance on me and my care for her show me how much my heavenly father cares for me, even in the small things. After all, Peter does say that we should cast our anxieties upon God because he cares for us.

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