“For You, O Eternal One, have come to my aid and offered me relief.” Psalm 86:17b
When our daughter, Hannah, was in kindergarten, we lovingly called her “Little Nightingale.”
She may have been an elementary-school rookie, but it didn’t take long for our 6-year-old to realize that recess is both the happiest and most hazardous time of day. While a playground is the perfect palette for sliding and swinging, chasing and racing, it can quickly become a canvas of boo-boos and tears.
It was this unspoken paradox that prompted Hannah to create her own “kindergarten first-aid kit.” She emptied an old plastic pencil box and filled it with Band-Aids and cotton swabs, gauze strips and tissues. Then she slipped it into her backpack right beside her library books and lunch box.
Without flamboyance or fanfare, Hannah carried that little pencil box out to recess each day, and she looked for kindergartners in need. She tended to bruised elbows and stubbed toes, monkey bar mishaps and merry-go-round woes.
And when we gathered around our kitchen table after school, our Little Nightingale often told tales of kindergarten calamities. She spoke of Gracie’s slip from the swings and Johnny’s run-in with a tree, Samantha’s bloody nose and David’s skinned knee. Hannah never seemed to run out of classmates in a fix. Nor did she run out of mercy.
But as the school year progressed, we began noticing Hannah’s recess reports were shifting in a subtle way. Our tender-hearted girl spoke less about her classmates’ scrapes and scabs and more about their bruised feelings and aching hearts.
It was as if our Little Nightingale began to realize that the greatest wounds on the playground weren’t always the bloodied lips or the clumsy trips, but the saddened spirits and the heavy hearts.
Maybe that’s why I eventually discovered a bright orange shoebox in Hannah’s backpack where that plastic pencil box had always been.
“What’s this?” I asked as I lifted the bulky box out of her bag and shook it like it was a Christmas present waiting to be unwrapped.
“Oh, that’s my new first aid kit,” Hannah replied with a shrug of her shoulders.
“It’s so heavy!” I exclaimed. “Are you carrying Band-Aids made of steel?”
“No-oooo, Mom,” she said with a giggle. She took the box out of my hands and set it on the counter. Then she lifted the lid to reveal what lay inside. “I put my Bible in there,” she said, “Cause a Band-Aid can’t fix everything, ya know.”
She held my gaze for a moment and then skipped off to play with her sister, leaving me alone with that bulky orange box and a kindergartner’s wisp of wisdom.
I stared at that well-worn children’s Bible tucked beneath a pile of Band-Aids and cotton balls, bandages and tissues, and I thought of all the times in my own life I’d opened God’s Word with a hurting heart and a cry for help. And I felt a lump of tears rising in my throat as I realized the timeless truth of my daughter’s words.
And when we seek Him on the pages of His Word, He meets us in the depth of our need.
Psalm 86:17b reminds us we can secure tonics for our troubles and seek mends for our mishaps, but our source of surest aid is the One who loved us first — “For You, O Eternal One, have come to my aid and offered me relief.”
So the next time we find ourselves in need of a little spiritual first aid, let’s reach for our Bibles and seek God’s presence.
Let’s allow God’s truth to mend our hearts and buoy our hope.
Because according to a Little Nightingale I know, Band-Aids just can’t fix everything.
Dear Jesus, help me turn to You first when I’m in need. Give me a hunger for Your Word. Use Your timeless truth to buoy my soul, bind my wounds, and make me whole. I love You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.