Yesterday, I got a call from my wife. She opened with, "Honey, I don't want you to panic..." Um, yeah, that is not the best call to get. My four year old daughter, Scarlett, fell into a display hook at a shoe store, and there was a possibility that she would lose her eye. I took this picture after the doctor cleaned up all the blood, and it doesn't look as bad as I was imagining on the drive to the hospital.
As a father, all I could think of was my child's welfare. I was angry that she spends all day thinking of ways to get hurt. If you can climb on it, and jump off of it, she loves it. If it is full of sharp objects, she dives into it. I get so mad that she insists on doing things that could hurt her. But, I also felt intense love for her, praying on the 40 minute drive from work to the hospital. I prayed that God would take my eye and spare my little girl. I would literally step in and take her place if I could. There is nothing I would not give for my child.
The good news is that with a little sedation, they were able to suture up the cut, and examine her cornea. She might even get out of this with little more than a black eye that will fade. Even the burst blood vessels in her eye itself, though intensely red now, will be little more than a memory in a few weeks. She is already up and bouncing around the house again this morning. I keep begging her to be careful and don't dive into the toy box face first. She has been given a new eye, as far as I am concerned, and I want her to be safe for a long time.
That being said, reading all the prayers from Christian friends, my fellow seed sowers, I am mindful of a similar story. I used to think it was fun to do things that hurt me, like sin. In fact, I would dive into sin. Of course, I didn't actually murder anyone, but I sure could break the seventh commandment (fornication), in heart and in deed. I could find any justification to break the ninth commandment (telling lies). I certainly didn't even think that the fifth (honor your parents) should be in the list. You name the standard of perfection God demanded of me, and I found pleasure in falling short of it. As a Father, I can only imagine God's anger at my love of sin...my love of hurting myself. As I have to stay my hand from just grabbing my daughter and shaking her to stop her from doing something wrong, I appreciate the patience God had in not reaching down and throttling me.
But, I am also mindful of God's intense love for me. Though, the consequence of my selfish, sinful, actions is death. God not only wants to step in to take my place, but He did. In the person of Christ Jesus, God stepped in and took my punishment upon Himself, allowing me to go free. I get to go to Heaven, not because I deserve it, far from it, but because He paid the price for me.
Now, a four year old comes home from the hospital after having minor surgury to save her eye and thinks about how to climb up the outside of the staircase. But, I'm not a four year old. That would be childish, and downright rude, to basically laugh in the face of the people who saved you. Sure, I might fall into sin occasionally, but for me to "dive" back into a life of sin would be downright rude. God so graciously has reached down and saved me from a life of sin, and in return, I want my actions to reflect my gratitude. I repent of, that is, turn from, my love of sin, and place my faith in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on my behalf.
My question today to you is: What is stopping you from doing that? If we each honestly examine ourselves in light of God's standard, we will see that we fall very short and are destined for the very real punishment of hell. As a father, I can hear God saying to you, His children, "Please, please, turn from the behavior that will kill you, and flee to my loving arms, where I long to save you from death. I would give my only Son, if you will turn from your sin."
And He did.