A Short Story
I went on holiday at the start of the year – it is summer here in NZ then – and one of the things that our kids love to do is to go to the beach. It’s a real highlight for them, and so we ended up going quite a few times. The kids would get up really early, and they’d want to have breakfast early, and then get into their togs/bathing suits, and then go to the beach, as a result we were often at the beach around 8am, which is great, because there is no one else there! We pretty much had the beach to ourselves and, because it was summer, it was still nice and warm.
So we would sit on the beach, and the kids would dig in the sand, and make sand castles, and go swimming, it was an awesome time. One thing that I have noticed over the years is that, young children like to do the same things over and over and over and over again. This time it was the turn of our daughter. Her thing was this:
Dad digs a hole in the sand, she goes down to the water with a bucket, fills said bucket with sea water, comes running back up the beach (spilling a whole lot of water in her excitement), dumps the water into the hole to fill it up, and then dad has to fill the hole up with all of the sand that he has just dug out of it, then we repeat the process again – this could go on for up to 30 mins before she moves on to something else! She loved it! The joy on her face as she would come running back up the beach to play with her dad! It both warmed my heart to see her so loving being the centre of her dad’s attention for such a long time, but it was also a real learning moment for me. The thing that came to mind was the following verse:
The Lord is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
The thing that I realised was two-fold:
- I want to be like that with God. I want to be able to just be in His presence, to feel His presence, and to know the joy and love of being under the smile of His gaze, just playing, doing things that fill us both with joy. I want to be like a small child before Him. I want to be so sure of His love that I don’t care what else is happening, it’s just about Him and myself.
- The second thing that I meditated on was that, I was very patient with my daughter. While she was running up and down the beach, I’ll be honest, it did get a little repetitive… But I was happy to have her around me, and I was willing to work with her. What flashed through my mind is how gracious Jesus is. How many times do we mess up in the same way? We are caught in some sort of destructive or unhelpful behaviour, and we try to give up, then we succeed for a few days, and we feel good, then we ‘fall off the wagon’ and end up repeating the same vices over and over again. Yet, each time we mess up, each time we fail – and let’s be honest, we all do that multiple times in a day! – God is still there for us. We can still come back to Him, and He is there waiting for us, waiting to forgive us, waiting to live us, waiting to help us pic ourselves up and get back on with what He is calling us to do, what He is asking us to surrender to Him. The great news is that He will help us to do the things that He asks.
Make sure that today, you run to Him, He is waiting for you, and He loves you!