Hebrews 12:1 – Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. (ESV)
Our children love having toast and bread with jam, and also yogurt, at teatime. The children are presently eighteen months and three-and-a-half years old, respectively, so this has become an entertaining event.
When I say entertaining, what I really mean is messy. We, as the parents overseeing this development into how far it is practically possible to spread jam or yogurt over the table and onto as many people and objects around them as possible, have to clean up after the event.
As a dad, I realise that it is a natural part of their exploration of the world about them. They, however, still need to be cleaned up, even when they, or we, are not that keen.
Recently, when I was sponging down my youngest Sophia's hands, I was made aware of the patience of God with us. Daily as we come to Him in our sin, all covered with sticky goo, dirty clothing, and less savoury stuff, Jesus loves us and never tires of the will to clean us up, hug us, and re-clothe us! What is more, unlike the Queen's unfulfilled promise to Alice in Wonderland of "jam tomorrow and jam yesterday — but never jam today", Jesus always fulfills His promise of forgiveness!
I would like to think that I am a more tolerant dad now than I was when I was young. So I try to keep my peace and not sweat the small stuff, as after four children, I can see that the older children have learnt for themselves to rein in their exploration to more moderate levels as they grow in experience.
It is good to know that God's grace is much superior at sorting us out by the power of the Holy Spirit, cleansing, re-dressing, and preparing us again for His service and worship.
Okay, so there are always new things to explore, and that is how we learn. My children listen to my voice, as I help them to reject the bad and accept the good. Sometimes, they just ignore me, however, and, if I let them, they may find out the hard way that this can be a mistake!
Prayer: Lord, You are patient and just, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and delighting in the good. Please forgive us when we have ignored Your direction. As we come before You all messed up again, please come, by the presence of the Holy Spirit, to clean us up and send us out in the power of Your name, with a song of praise to Your mercy and an ear to hear Your Word for us today. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.