Parenting toddlers is a real adventure, not for the weak or the faint hearted — kids should arrive with all their fingers and all their toes and a warning label! A map drawing a detailed picture of what’s about to transpire, so we can navigate the mysterious wonder of raising little ones. I recently caught an Instagram video, of a close friends three-year-old sneaking mouthfuls of birthday cake face first as grandpa was secretly filming in the shadows.

In their formative years naturally curious and full of life they discover trouble, the kid kind of mischief that seems hilarious after the fact, but often times tragic in the moment.

Here’s the scenario, it’s a common story that has happened to every parent, though in its own variation. Mum is out hanging the clothes and tidying up, and it’s been a while since she’s heard from little Jimmy, except the intermittent bump and hum. “Jimmy”, she calls with tenderness wrapped in a question, “what are you doing?” A quick “nothing” calls back. More time passes and Mum inquires again with a bit more tone adding to the tension “what are you doing?” With even more certainty he responds with purpose “nothing!” which sends off alarm bells in Mom and forces her to audit the situation, why? Because nothing is always something! The reality is little Jimmy was drawing dinosaurs on the freshly painted bedroom walls and tyrannosaurus rex’s were not part of her interior design.  

Again, nothing is often times something, the little things that we brush off and diminish can be significant. A physical pain that needs attention and is ignored can be fatal. A simple look indicating that attention is needed by a spouse left unattended can mean a long night on opposite sides of the bed (husbands pay attention). Or, that still small voice when heaven whispers and God speaks, obedience can change the course of someone’s destiny.

Nothing is often times everything!

In 1 Kings 17 we are introduced to a widow and her hungry son. The God man is passing through. The brook that quenched his thirst has dried up and there’s no rain in sight. Then God speaks (it’s amazing what we hear when we thirst after Him.) On his sojourn Elijah travels to Zarephath and meets with this mother and son vagabond who are posed with a question. Often the questions we ask are just as revealing as the answers. 

I paraphrase here, when Elijah asked “what do you have in your hand?” To which she responds “just a handful of flour and a jar of oil.” Essentially she is saying “nothing”. But just like little Jimmy her nothing is actually something. The Bible tells us that God took her nothing and made it a lifesaving something… “For the jar of oil and the flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah.” 

What’s in your hand? What’s in your heart? So often times our insignificant is completely significant. Our insufficiency becomes more than enough. Our weakness becomes strength. Our basket of fish and loaves of bread feeds the multitude. Our nothing is actually something. 

You are something!