A Father's Heart For Us
It was the first time I saw my Dad cry. I was 12 years old and our annual family camping trip had taken a sour turn.
That summer my younger brother brought a friend on our camping trip. I’m sure you can appreciate the struggle - two 10 year old boys was not my idea of a vacation!
The problems began on the third day. There I was, in full recline on the beach, fingers and toes buried deep in the sand, face to the sun when out of no where these two hoodlums came crashing towards me on their bicycles.
Spraying sand in all directions, their crazed eyes focused hard on me as they tore past innocent beach lovers.
“Maniacs!” I yelled, as only a big sister could.
And then it happened - Paul’s friend came to a skidding stop. Right on top of my fingers.
I let out a dramatic war cry, jumped to my feet and shoved that 10 year old gangster off his bicycle. It’s all in slow motion in my mind - but that kid seemed to fly through the air forever before he hit the ground and rolled to his resting spot face down in the sand.
Of course, as you know - we don’t treat company like that. And the boys limped back to the trailer to fill my parents in on my bad choices.
And, as you can imagine, there were consequences for my actions.
My parents were disappointed. I lost some privileges.
And in my dismay, I ran to my secret hiding spot (a three minute walk from the trailer) to cry it out. I think I probably sat there for two hours - ranting to myself about the injustice of it all. Deciding that my parents didn’t love me, that they wished they hadn’t had me.
You know what it’s like to be 12
As evening set in and the mosquitoes came out, I decided to head back to the trailer and face the snide grins of the boys and the disappointment on the faces of my parents.
But that’s not what awaited me when I opened the trailer door.
Before I could even make sense of what was happening, my Dad ran towards me and scooped me into his arms - holding me for a long time. There was a feeling of relief in the trailer. When Dad released his grip enough to look at me, he smiled the biggest smile. And that’s when I noticed his eyes - brimming with tears.
There was no lecture. There was no anger. His face was full of love. And his tears said more than any words ever could.
He thought he’d lost me.
And he was overjoyed and relieved to have me back.
This is just like God, isn’t it?
We make a mess of things, run away, decide we aren’t loveable. We decide for God how He will receive us.
But God just wants us close to Him. He just wants us to come home.
I’ve run the other way and made a mess of things more times than I can count. I’ve faced the consequences of choices made outside of His will. And I’ve wondered if maybe I’ve gone too far in the wrong direction too many times.
But that’s not how God works. We are never to messy or too far gone. Our choices, while they may bring consequences we don’t like, don’t leave us unloveable or unwanted.
He is always right there ready to welcome us back. And His eyes will always tell of a love that covers any poor choice, messy mistake, or brokenness.
He just wants us back.
And just like my experience in the trailer that day, you may be thoroughly surprised and very grateful at the reception you receive.
Wishing you a wonderfully blessed last few days of summer. May you feel the always welcoming arms of our Heavenly Father in every area of your life.
PS. If you’re feeling too broken or too messy for God, please connect with me. I’d love to chat with you about the lessons I’ve learned through my long way around.
Also, PS. If you have a prayer request or feedback for me, please hit reply. I’d love to hear from you.
“…but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 (ESV)