Today’s post is a treasure to my heart and a testament to the power of grace.
I unearthed it this week as I was digging through some old documents I had saved. I must have written in nearly 15 years ago.
And as I began to read the words on the page, I was taken back to that special time and place…to a simple moment with my father when I truly started to understand grace.
What a blessing to my soul to read it once again. I truly hope you will enjoy it too. I pray for the blessings of grace to be upon you…
I raced down the gravel road to my parents’ house, leaving a huge plume of white dust in the air behind me as I rounded the curve to the house.
As I pulled into the driveway, I was filled with a bit of panic, so I turned off my car and just sat there for a moment, not wanting to face the eyes of scrutiny that awaited me inside.
Today was Father’s Day.
But I was afraid it wasn’t going to be a happy one – and that was because of me.
I had regarded something else as more important, and now the celebration was delayed because of my selfishness.
Not a good way to say, “I love you, Dad.”
Now, of course, I knew that nothing could have been more important than being with my dad on Father’s Day, but I had already made my choice and now I had to face the consequences.
I got out of the car, cast my eyes down to the ground, and started walking up the sidewalk to the door. As I walked in, I sheepishly mumbled, “Sorry I’m late,” as I kept my gaze to the carpet.
When I glanced over to Mom, I saw that she was steaming, even though she was trying to keep it under control. However, the tenseness that filled the air was literally making me sweat.
In the kitchen, my sisters–always the jokesters–were standing by each other, shoulders pressed together, snickering and pointing at me, having a bit of fun at my expense. They both lifted up the presents they bought for Dad and asked, “So, what did you get Dad for Father’s Day?”
Nothing to Give
Oops. I had completely forgotten a gift.
Then, I saw my father.
My face turned even redder, and I walked quietly toward him and said, “Sorry, Dad. I guess I really blew it. I am late and I have nothing to give you.”
Then, something miraculous happened.
My dad reached his arm out, put it around my shoulder, and squeezed me to his side. He looked at me with eyes of kindness and said, “Don’t you worry about it one bit. I’m just glad you came home.”
I stood there, not able to say anything, amazed at his response. I didn’t deserve this kindness and forgiveness from him, but that is exactly what I got.
On a day when I should have been giving my father a gift, he gave me one instead as he washed away my guilt by his grace.
A Father’s Love
Every time I think of this particular Father’s Day, my mind turns toward my heavenly Father who too is waiting, longingly and lovingly, for His lost children to finally come home. Oh how he wants us to come running to him!
And He waits not to judge us, but to forgive us and say, “This child is mine!”
How amazing that God longs for our love and is consumed with us finding a path home.How amazing that God longs for our love and is consumed with us finding a path home. Click To Tweet
What’s more amazing is that He does this while seeing the messes we get ourselves into. He feels our disregard for Him and the burden of abuses that we heap upon Him. For many of us, it is months, years, or even decades that we show no love or respect for Him.
But when we come running home with regret in our hearts, He doesn’t condemn us. Instead, He opens up his arms and says, “Oh how glad I am that you made it home!”
Over the course of my life, I have found that nothing has ever changed me like being loved.Over the course of my life, I have found that nothing has ever changed me like being loved. Click To Tweet
The Gift of Grace
But what is so magical about this gift of love?
Why did my heart melt when my father forgave me without even a second thought?
Why was my heart transformed when I first started to realize how much my heavenly Father loves me?
I think it is because the gift of genuine grace is so rare and shocking.
We are not judged or criticized. We aren’t asked to prove ourselves or to work harder to make up for all of our mistakes. We’re not given a lecture on what it takes to become a truly good person.
We are simply loved and forgiven, and our shortcomings don’t even matter because the one forgiving us loves us so much that they all are just swept away.
The times I received this astounding, unexpected kind of love became pivotal moments in my life in which my heart was changed forever.
The forgiveness of my father made me want to be a better person.The forgiveness of my father made me want to be a better person. Click To Tweet
And the day I realized how much God loved me—in spite of how I didn’t always measure up—I cried straight from my heart with sincere gratitude and utter amazement. He loved me, in spite of everything. He always had.
A Changed Heart
And because of this love He had for me, I loved Him back with a love I had never experienced before. From that point on—although I am in no way perfect—I have had a heart for Him and doing His will.
Nothing else had ever changed me like that—nothing else could.
I finally get it.
For most of my life, I didn’t.
Now my relationship with God is not just a formality or routine, and it is not just about fulfilling a duty or trying to be a good person. It is about accepting a love that I simply do not deserve and passing that love onto others.
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1 John 4:10
We cannot repay God for what he has given us, but we can simply try to love like He has.