Caught Red Handed // A Father's Reflection
He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses them and renounces them finds mercy. Proverbs 28:13
At least one other writing rooster has already mentioned this week one the greatest joys of being a father is teaching my children new and wonderful things.
Just today I got to teach them how to bowl. I proudly watched them as they shouted with glee as their slow rolling orbs pinballed back and forth on the bumpers, eventually, at times, knocking down a pin or two, much to their delight. Over the past three weeks at our church’s summer Bible camp I have been privileged to have my children sit among a crowd at my feet as I told them Bible stories about the beginning of the world, the terrible lie, and a new beginning highlighted by the promise of the rainbow.
Although I love teaching and watching them grow into the amazing little people that they are becoming I don’t think that I will ever teach them near as much as they have taught me. Being a father has taught me so much… So much about patience... So much about rolling with the punches… So much about not stressing over the small things… So much about bodily fluids… So much about laughing and dancing and singing silly songs… So much more about princesses than I ever wanted to know… But most of all they have taught me about grace.
A couple of years ago I was talking on the phone with a pastor friend of mine and he was telling me about a book that he had bought at a book sale called “101 Sermon Starters”. Excitedly he exclaimed, “There are at least 20 good illustrations, it’s a gold mine.” I said to him, “I don’t need a book like that. I have child.” Now, a father himself he surely knows, what I meant.
Just a few weeks after that conversation, I was again on the phone talking to another pastor friend discussing an important matter. Convinced that my noisy 19 month old son, whom I was supposed to be watching, seemed to be playing safely in the kitchen, I went into the bedroom and closed the door. In the silence and with Jonas out of sight and out of mind I was much more able to focus on the conversation. About ten minutes later…ten very quiet minutes later…I emerged from the bedroom to find the reason for the sudden silence.
I stepped into the kitchen (which I had just finished super cleaning minutes before) and there spread out all over the white tile floor (that is oh so very hard to keep clean) was the scattered contents of several packages of instant oatmeal and a chili seasoning mix. And there sitting in front of the pantry with his back turned to me, smack dab in the middle of the mess was one happy little diapered boy, intoxicated by his powdery red concoction.
Immediately, I yelled, “Jonas!” and you have never seen a little boy break into cover up mode so fast. In one motion he turned towards me and yelled, “No daddy!” while at the same time attempting to scrape together enough of his new oatmeal recipe to repackage one of the shredded paper bags. Although his cover up effort was valiant, within moments he slipped and collapsed stomach down in the irrefutable evidence of his misdeeds. As he pulled himself up crimson tears began to trickle down his cheeks. He stretched out his arms in both a sign of defeat and repentance. Literally caught red handed, my little boy wanted a hug… And I gave him one. A hug that taught me more about grace than any commentary or creed ever could.
I still wanted to scold him, but all I could do was hold him.
His sin still covered his face, I covered him with grace.
And in that tender moment, I could feel the arms of our Father God wrapped around both of us.
After what must have been just a few moments (but felt more like minutes) I picked him up and plopped him in the bath tub. And as the red stains of his transgression flowed off his brow and his hands and his side, I saw the blood of another son washing over his sins and mine. As the oatmeal and chili passed through the drain, I saw our trespasses vanishing into the deepest part of the sea. Cleansing complete, I wrapped him in a nice clean towel and held him tightly to my chest until, Jonas asked, “Daddy, ok?” “My son, we are more than ok.”
Children of the heav’nly Father Safely in His bosom gather; Nestling bird nor star in Heaven Such a refuge e’er was given.
God His own doth tend and nourish; In His holy courts they flourish; From all evil things He spares them; In His mighty arms He bears them.
Neither life nor death shall ever From the Lord His children sever; Unto them His grace He showeth, And their sorrows all He knoweth.
Though He giveth or He taketh, God His children ne’er forsaketh; His the loving purpose solely To preserve them pure and holy.
Christian Worship #449
"Hello, I'm Mark. I am a Pastor of Christ the King Lutheran Church--Port Charlotte, FL, content curator of BreadForBeggars.com, husband of Molly and father of two wonderful children Jonas and Annabella (soon three) and a beloved son living in the affection and approval of his Father God."
For more reflections from Dads read:
Zoom in - Zoom out The big picture of fatherhood. - Frank On Time Am I doing enough with my time as a father? - Will The Meaning of Life: And Other Questions I Don't Know The Answers To - Brian Dadvertizing Could you imagine having to advertise fatherhood to someone who has never experienced it? - Mike