Grace that is greater than all our sins
There needs to be a word to describe the specific feeling you get when you are simultaneously furious with your child, yet still want to hug them till they melt in your arms. I thought of this when my husband told me, “All the boys in Thailand have been freed from the cave.” “Let the spankings begin.” I laughed. Of course, I was only joking, because I, along with the rest of the world was immensely relieved and had prayed for them to be released from their underground entrapment. As someone who freaks out over the thought of being trapped, and as the mother of boys, I was sick with worry about these children who had been stranded in a cave system for nearly three weeks.
“You’re never leaving my sight again.” “I cooked all your favorite foods.” “I love you so much.” “You can have that puppy you’ve been wanting.” “We’re giving your brother and sister away so we can focus only on you for the rest of our lives.”
When my youngest son was 5 years old, I sent him across the street — which was actually a small, safe gravel road, to take an elderly neighbor some cookies. I watched from the kitchen window as he scampered up the steps of her big front porch, then busied myself with another chore. It wasn’t until about ten minutes later I realized I hadn’t heard him return. I searched our yard, then remembered I saw a scruffy looking stranger walk down our remote road earlier in the morning. Chills ran down my back. Up and down the street I walked calling his name. My neighbors joined in the hunt for my son, who was prone to adventure and exploring. Their help was comforting yet made it more of an official search, which added an uneasy edge to the situation. There was talk of calling the police, but I kept my cool, although I had hot tears ready to spill down my cheeks. After about 45 minutes, a friend found my little guy, safe and sound, sitting on our neighbor’s sofa eating Jell-O and watching cartoons. He had gone inside to give her cookies and made himself at home.
I searched for that elusive word to describe my mix of fear, relief, exasperation and joy, but it was far too complicated of an emotion to name.
Even as adults, we too can wander away and ignore warnings only to end up in unexpected trouble. God has every right to be angry with our carelessness and broken hearted by our disobedience, yet like a good parent, overlooks the mistakes and welcomes us into his arms with unconditional love. We may deserve a Holy spanking, but instead, God shows us compassion.
Like the Navy Seals in Thailand, God can rescue us from the mess we’ve created and replace his anger with love, demonstrating grace and the beauty of second chances — that’s the word I’m looking for . . . grace. Amazing grace made for adventurous absentminded little boys all over the world, as well as their parents.
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This story first appeared on AL.com.