Friday, February 11, 2011

The Couch

I am reading The Grace of God
by Andy Stanley. I have only just begun but it is an amazing book. As I was reading last night God decided it was a good opportunity to teach me a practical lesson about his grace. My youngest daughter sat down on the couch right next to me as I was reading. She is a very affectionate child and loves to snuggle up close. I love it when she does this however, last night she did this with her Ninento DS in her hand playing some little cartoon clip and playing it with the volume turned up just a little too high. I asked her in gentle voice "Please turn that down honey." She was either ignoring me or was too engrossed in her video to hear me so I repeated myself, "Please turn that down honey, daddy is trying to read." I got the same results...nothing! So I decided to raise my voice over the volume of the video and said "Please turn that down!" I finally got through but the results were not what I expected. She looked at me with with a look that let me know she was not happy with me. She took her video player and her blanket and moved to the other end of the couch. She kept looking at me to make sure I knew she was good and mad. And yes, I got the message! I just let her steep for a while, I let her sit by herself and finish her video. About ten minutes later she finished her video and it was time for bed. She brushed her teeth and walked back through the den where both my wife and I were sitting. She looked at me and said "Daddy, come put me to bed!" There was not a moment of hesitation, I jumped up from the couch and did exactly what she asked. I tucked her in, I made sure she had her stuffed animals, I told her I loved her and I kissed her goodnight.

As I sat back down on the couch I reflected on this incident and what I had just been reading in Stanley's book. There are times when I get mad at God, there are times when I disobey God, there are times when I move to the other end of the couch and let God know just how mad I am with him. What he showed me last night is that he will, at times, respond just like I did with my daughter. My love for her did not waiver for a moment. My desire for her to come back to my side of the couch was strong. My joy was overflowing when she walked back through the room and asked me to put her to bed. As I was putting her to bed I did not rebuke her or try to make her feel guilty for what she had done, I just loved her. I think this is a beautiful picture of how God loves us. We mess up, we get mad, we let him know how we feel and how angry we are that he allowed something "bad" to happen. We let him know how hurt we are by withdrawing from him. All the while he is patiently waiting on us to return to his perfect love and forgiveness.
James 4: 8 - Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
In other words, repent, say you are sorry and come back to God. He is right where you left him. In my story my daughter was the one who moved, I never moved from where I was on the couch. She left me, she picked up her stuff and slid away. God is right where we left him. He has not moved. We can and need to come back to him. We need to realize what we have done and return to the one who loves us with a love far more perfect that the love I showed my daughter. He is right there waiting at the other end of the couch.

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