Wednesday, April 07, 2010

When We Miss the Golden Eggs by Jon Acuff

When we miss the golden eggs @ Stuff Christians Like
~totally borrowed and definitely worth sharing

A few days ago, a friend asked me about an experience that made me want to throw up.

The event was something that happened a year ago. I’ve written about it before but his question sparked something new.

We were at an Easter egg hunt at my in-law’s country club. We go every year and this is no minor hunt. The main difference is that in each field of eggs, they hide a few golden ones. If you find a golden egg you can turn it in and get a massive Easter basket with candy and toys and stuffed animals.

So while we were waiting for the host of the event to blow the horn and let my then five year old daughter L.E. run into the field, I spotted a golden egg about 15 feet away. I pointed it out to L.E. and told her that when the horn sounded she should run at it. She was really excited and focused all her bubbling pre-school energy on getting that egg.

Unfortunately, so did another little girl.

When the horn sounded, L.E. took off, and she was almost there, but she was half a step too slow. She slipped, fell in the mud and watched as the other little girl got the egg.

She got up and collected a few regular eggs half heartedly. When it was all over, she took a look at the other girl’s family celebrating their golden egg and then collapsed in my arms and started weeping.

Do you know what I did in that moment? Do you know what I told her?

I told her I didn’t want to hold her. I told her that she had failed and that she had to fix the situation before I would look at her again. I told her I was disappointed that she was constantly making the same mistakes over and over again and that she needed to live with the consequences of her actions until she figured out how to fix things.

OK, that’s not what I told her at all.

I held her close and let her cry. I told her it was OK. That she was special and beautiful and that we can get mud out of Easter dresses. I told her it was going to be alright.

That was my reaction when L.E. fell. That was my reaction when L.E. failed. So why do we think God will react differently?

Why when we fail, why when we fall into the mud and miss the target, do we think God is angry at us? That he pushes us away and wants us to buck up and clean up before we try to come back into his presence?

What if we’re wrong about God? What if He’s a better father than Jon Acuff is? What if his heart breaks when we fall down, not out of disappointment, but shared sadness with us? What if weeping on his shoulder is all we need to do today?

You could argue that L.E. missing the egg wasn’t a sin and I’d agree. But the times when she does break a rule at home, the times when she lies, the times when she does willfully step away from some family agreement, I don’t tell her to fix herself before she returns. I might discipline out of love, but I never push her away or lock her out of the house or shut her out of my heart until she’s made the situation right.

And I’m just a human father! A broken, prone to stumble father. Imagine how beautiful our God’s reaction is. Christ touches on this in Luke 11:

“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

I don’t know where your life is right now. I don’t know if you’re in the middle of a divorce or mountain of credit card debt or had a dad that would have yelled at you for missing the golden egg. I don’t know how muddy you are or how many times you’ve fallen this year or this life. But I do know one thing, we serve a God who we are told longs to show you compassion.

A God who holds muddy kids.

A God who wants to hold you.

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1 comment:

Carol Connell said...

Beautiful, Carmen. Thanks for sharing this. I hope you and Gracie had a very Happy Easter.

Blessings always,