There has been a lot going on in my life recently, which is why the pages of my blog have been sorely neglected. I’m sorry for that. I’ll be hopefully adding more in the days to come, but for this morning I want to share a memory with you all.
Yesterday as I was driving, I was thinking about God’s love. And I was resting upon the idea that God’s love is shown both in His grace and mercy but also in His correcting voice. And I remembered an incident from when I was a youth….
I must have been in 10th grade as I think my sister Jess was still at home. We, Jess and myself, had saved enough money that we wanted to go back to school shopping with one of our youth group friends. We asked and received permission to go shopping on a school night and we joyously headed out for a good time. If you knew the three of us it was bound to be a ridiculous and yet innocent time. I don’t even remember how many stores we visited but I do remember that I got some good deals and many laughs were had.
Well as the night came to a close we received a call on our cell phone; it was our dad demanding that we come home. Now you see we had received permission to go out shopping that night but we had stayed out way later than normal. As it’s been years now I don’t remember the time but I would have to assume that we returned home around 10 or 10:30PM, way later than we normally would be out on a school night.
My dad was furious. He was furious to the point that he didn’t talk to us when we got home. We all went to bed and the next moment when we got up I dreaded having to deal with my dad.
You see I was a rule follower of a child. I hated getting in trouble but more than getting in trouble I hated doing anything wrong. I agonized over the thought that I would bring disgrace on the family name (you know, like we lived in Mulan China or something?!). I often would not do something if I feared it could possibly be construed as being wrong. So you understand my dread that morning.
By this point he had calmed down some and had thought and prayed on the subject. And what he had to say shocked me. To sum it up he said that because he hadn’t expressly told us when to be home he realized that he couldn’t be upset with us. He had assumed that we would know when to be home but since that wasn’t the case we weren’t in trouble. Instead going forward he would make sure we knew when we had to be home.
He took what rightly should have been our consequences and threw them out the window and gave us grace. He pardoned us and instead set up a boundary so we would know how far was too far.
I don’t know that I adequately expressed to my father what that moment in time did for me. I learned the value of taking time to calm down and think before disciplining. I learned the value of the trust my father had in us. I learned that with discipline and rules there can be grace and mercy as well.
I watched my father emulate Father God to me in that moment.
And yesterday as this memory came flooding back I’m reminded that God loves us enough that He will respond the same way. We often think of the reprimand of God as something that crashes down on us to suffocate and destroy us. But really, the reprimand of God, much like my own father’s reprimand, is one of boundaries and safety and love. It is full of grace but strong enough to withstand.
Too often we struggle with decisions because I think we worry, what if we get it wrong. What if God has to tell me I’m wrong? But if we trust that God really is a loving Father and we are genuinely are seeking His voice, then He, much like my father, will graciously call out. Will reprove when needed but will also do so with a heart of love.