Some years ago as the evening was coming to a close and my daughters were getting ready for bed, my youngest asked to have a snack. Annie loves to snack. A snack for her usually means, “I want chocolate.” Of course, Krista and I allow her to eat any and all the chocolate she wants before bed. Just kidding. Krista said she could have one cookie.
Lily also asked for a snack and ran off to the kitchen. She returned to the family room with a heaping bowl of Cheerios. I looked at it and thought to myself, “This isn’t a snack. This is another meal.” I made note of this to Lily and grabbed the bowl. I ran to find Krista to ask her recommendation. Krista seemed shocked that I was so concerned. She said Lily usually eats cereal for a snack and that she wasn’t concerned because it didn’t have sugar in it. She even said Lily will often eat two bowls at a time. This now explains the increase in the family grocery bill, but where have I been to have missed the fact that my daughter is eating two bowls of cereal for a snack.
I returned to the family room to give Lily her cereal back. Lily met me halfway with tears in her eyes, “Daddy,” she said, “What did I do wrong?” “Oh great,” I am thinking to myself, “I just made my daughter cry over a bowl of cereal.” For crying out loud!
Have you ever been to this place? I thought I was being a good parent by being aware and addressing my daughter’s eating habits. Lily had no idea why I was so concerned. She had been doing this unbeknownst to me probably since birth. My reaction confused, scared, and crushed her. I apologized and held her. Soon the tears dried up. The whole experience gave me a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach and left me almost ill. I could feel a headache coming on.
I have been to Niagara Falls a few times in my life. It is an overwhelming experience being so near the falls - just feet from where the water tumbles over the edge. The amount of water crashing down to the bottom is too much to fathom and more than just a little scary.
I checked out some statistics on Niagara Falls and found that 85,000 cubic feet of water pour over the edge of the falls every second before crashing to the bottom 167 feet below. One cubic foot contains almost 7.5 gallons of water. One gallon of water weighs about 8 pounds, so one cubic foot of water weighs about 62 pounds. Based on this information at any given second, the approximate weight of the water moving over the falls is 5.3 million lbs or 2,467 tons. That is amazing. Can you imagine being at the bottom of the falls watching, feeling, and hearing the power of all that water?
I have found something to be even more powerful, impactful, and life-changing . . . .
Grace - that undeserved and unmerited gesture - that acknowledgment that all is okay between us - extended to another in spite of a hurtful wrong, a damaging failure, or a dark sin.
Later after the tears had dried up, I tucked Lily in bed. I rubbed her back and sang to her as I always do. She rolled over on her back, looked me in the eyes and said, “I love you, Daddy.” Grace rushed toward me at the speed of love. I was undone. What a gift!
I cherish God’s grace no less. Since the tragedy in the Garden of Eden, humanity has messed up our love relationships with God and others to no known end. Before God, I trip, stumble, and fall flat on my face as I become entangled in my own wrong-doings, failures, and sin. This leaves me heartbroken for the hurt I cause God. But His grace poured out through Jesus’ death has once and for all brought reconciliation to our relationship and has allowed me to hear Him speak into the recesses of my heart, “I love you, Jeff.” The power of this grace no waterfall can match and no man could measure.
“And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God”
God, help me to grasp the volume of Your grace. May I never take Your grace for granted. May I extend it to others as it has been shown to me, especially by that one little girl.
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound…