If you, O LORD, keep a record of sins, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness. Psalm 130:3–4 NIV
“Wait ’til your father gets home” was not a threat I was able to use on my children. Their father, you see, was—and still is—a softy. I was the bad guy who doled out punishment and discipline.
But there was one time I was sure this easygoing husband of mine would crack and lose his temper with an errant, strong-willed, rebellious child.
One evening when my daughter was in high school, I’d taken her to the mall to do some school shopping. She’d just about finished when my aching feet drove me to the car to wait while she picked up some makeup. I waited. And waited. And waited. The mall was closing down and still no daughter. Where was she?
I returned to the store to find out. Well, she’d picked up some makeup, all right—and tried to get out of the store without paying.
I was beyond furious. How could she do something like this? How could she do this to me? I mean, after all, I was a Sunday school teacher and Bible club teacher, choir director, Christian writer. Wasn’t I supposed to have perfect Christian children? What would people say? What would they think of me? I’ll never forgive her for this! I vowed silently as I drove home, shaking with rage.
“When we get home,” I hissed, “you will tell your father what you’ve done.”
I sent her in ahead of me so I could try to calm down and give her time to tell him without me there. But when I walked in, the scene that greeted me was not what I’d had in mind. There, curled up in her father’s lap, was our remorseful child.
I was stunned. How could he open his arms to her after what she’d done? How could he forgive her just like that? At that moment I don’t know who I was madder at—her or him.
That was more than twenty years ago. Since then, our daughter has grown up to be quite the woman. While fulfilling her roles as wife and mother, she earned her teaching degree as a full-time student with close to a 4.0 GPA. Her college recognized her with its “Heart of Gold” award for her work with a support group for parents of autistic children. She’s now an awesome high school math teacher who asks to work with students who struggle with learning math because she, too, found math difficult when she was in high school.
It took me years before I recognized what I really saw that night when I walked in the house: a perfect picture of God’s unconditional love for us.
Thank You, Abba Father, that we can curl up in Your lap any time we need forgiveness. Amen.
Read and reflect on Luke 15:11–32.
From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea for the Seasons © 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved. Used with permission.