U NDER pressure, we reveal our true belief of ourselves and our true belief of God. There’s no hiding it. If we’re brave enough, we’re able to recognise our own flaws in those moments and make changes to our life.


So there we were… enjoying the first day of holiday a few years back. We’d spent the day doing various things around the holiday resort we were staying at, and were settling down to a nice braai. Typical braai scene: the kids were playing happily in their rooms, Tam was hustling up roast potatoes and goodies in the kitchen and I was outside cooking the biggest steak ever on the braai.

So relaxing: sunset, a few sundowners and a view over Sterkfontein dam. Bliss…

Then I hear Tam calling my name urgently. She hurries through carrying our son on her hip, and he’s screaming tears. “He’s gonna need to go to the hospital,” she said.

This two-year-old son of ours was typically living like one. Too fast. In this instance, he’d run into the corner of a table and pierced the skin immeditately below his eye. Between the screaming and the tears and the blood, it was difficult to see just how bad it was, and whether he’d pierced the eyeball itself.

But one thing was very clear: our serene braai evening was no more.

And under this kind of pressure, there’s no hiding the emotions of the human heart. I felt myself wrestling emotions… firstly annoyance, anger and irritation, and then worry and fear as to how we were going to fix the problem (the nearest hospital was hours away). My thoughts went along the lines of: “If the kids listened to what I told them 10 minutes ago, this wouldn’t have happened!” as well as…

“I should have intervened earlier…”

“Why does this have to happen now? At the end of the day, just when we’re all relaxing?”

“Is this some sort of test?”

Ah, the victim question. Every so often it surfaces in all of us when we’re under pressure. And in that instant, I was suddenly aware of my view of myself and my view of God. There’s no hiding the heart. I was trying to control the situation, and my immediate view of God in my reaction was not one of a loving father. And this was something that needed attention.

Deep breath, calm down the two-year-old, and have a proper look at the wound. No need for a stitch, just some patching up of an understanding of what happens when parents speak.

We managed a braai, saw out the end of the rugby, and settled the kids to bed. And going to sleep at night, I chatted to my father in heaven who reassured me that he knows what’s best and wants only good things for us. It’s good to hang around in that space. It’s good for our hearts.

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