Sunday, October 25, 2009

What Do We Deserve?

After what seemed to be two solid weeks of cold, rainy weather, the sun finally came out and we had a dry weekend. The leaves have slowly been turning a beautiful autumn delight, but they just look different when the sun is shining, don't they?

We happen to have 5 very large maple trees in our front yard, all colored a brilliant yellow...and fallen. On Saturday, I had one particular complaining, whining child who said there was nothing to do. I took one look outside and suggested she pick up a rake and hit the maple trees.

Before I knew it...we had all five kids out there, plus two neighbor kids and one friend. They raked and raked and raked! The ones that had rakes worked feverishly. The ones without rakes filled garbage bags with leaves. The end result? You guessed it...a giant leaf pile just waiting to be jumped upon.

These kids spent at least 5 hours Saturday afternoon playing in the leaf pile. I thought that would be it. But, Sunday morning, I came downstairs after getting ready for church and found all five kids running through the leaf pile (with explicit instructions NOT to get dirty again). And after church? They all raced out of the truck and tore into the leaf pile. It is now 6:06pm and where are the kids? IN THE LEAF PILE!

I had to chuckle - I had no idea that ONE leaf pile (that happens to be very large) would hold the attention and joy of these children for so long. What joy it is bringing to my heart to hear the squeals and see the leaves stuck in their hair as they come up for air.

Yesterday, Joe and I had the chance to go on a mini-date and we drove to Lake Mills to pray. Probably not what most married couples do when they can get away from their five kids, but that is exactly what we needed. We found a secluded spot on the lake shore...it was silent and the skies had just cleared. And we prayed.

You see, we have had some rough days lately, and we are realizing the only people to blame is ourselves. We had a lot to confess to our Father, mainly for not loving the way He has called us to. As I prayed, a verse came to mind and I had meditate upon it: "The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; He does not treat us as our sins deserve, or repay us according to our iniquities." (Psalm 103:8-9) As I prayed this verse to our kind Father, I had to confess that I often treat George as I think he deserves.

That stings. I think I probably do that at one time or another to all my children, but I definitely think George deserves worse. This hurts to admit. I broke down in my prayer, realizing how sinful I have been thinking George deserves something harsher, stricter and more painful than I do!

God does not treat us as we deserve! Do you hear that? He is holy. He is perfect. He is sinless. We deserve so much worse that what He gives us. And what does He give us? He gives us compassion. He gives us mercy. He gives us LOVE, unconditional love.

How can I possible do less for George?

Lord, forgive my stubborn heart that keeps going back to resentment, to anger, to frustration. Forgive my lack of love, that I am not loving as quickly as I thought I would or as I should. I thank you for this child who laughs with his brothers and sisters for hours in a leaf pile. I thank you for this child who gives a big hug every night and thanks his momma for dinner. I thank you for the smiles off the bus and the little glances he steals. We are getting there Lord. Only with You leading the way. Amen.

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