As I attempt to squeeze through the dreaded mangle, kill my knees crawling through the tiny tunnel and get electric shocks off the horrible plastic slides, the thought enters my mind - SURELY I WAS MADE FOR MORE THAN THIS???!!!
Many mothers will recognise the pains of the soft play area, especially when you have a child who is not quite ready (or old enough) to go off and play by himself. You are dragged around the most uncomfortable equipment that clearly was not made for adults to ever enter, desperately pleading with your child to "be a big boy" and do it himself! Why am I doing this? What could be worth the humiliation and the pain?
The look of joy on my son's face as he climbs.
You see he loves climbing. He will repeat the word over and over again whilst running up and down the sofa. He will say it as he makes his way up the stairs. He will attempt to climb anything - tables, chairs, rabbit hutches, shop shelves. So to find a place where he can do this safely and enjoy it brings me pure joy. Would I prefer for him to do it by himself - yes! But will I happily endure the suffering that comes with the soft play area so that he can enjoy it - I will because I love him.
Surely this must be what Jesus was thinking as he stepped down from the majesty of heaven to walk on earth beside us. He had to endure the human body, with all its aches and pains, all the heartache that comes from living on this earth, and worst of all - physical suffering through death on a cross and spiritual separation from his father.
You see, would Jesus have preferred for us to be able to restore our relationship with God on our own? YES! Of course he would. We all read him say in Luke chapter 22 "Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me". But does he happily endure that suffering so that we can enjoy a restored relationship with God? Of course - because he loves us. "Yet not my will, but yours be done."
Surely we were made for more than crawling around in a soft play area, but then Jesus was made to be more than just a person on this earth - he was made to save us all. So perhaps I should stop moaning about it and think about the bigger purpose of my loving and encouraging my son - what difference will it make to his life that I have made the effort to be there with him? I don't know, but I am sure my love, affection and encouragement will enable him to be more than I can ever imagine.