God loves us, even when we stumble and make a mess

Published 4:23 am Friday, May 25, 2012


Donalsonville Assembly of God

I had the pleasant privilege of making a little girl really happy one day last week when I showed up at the daycare without her expecting me. It was hot outside where Madeline and the other children were playing, so she did not face a hard decision when I asked if she wanted to come with me. She grabbed my hand and walked excitedly off to my car and we started our afternoon that included several stops.

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As 4-year-olds usually do, Madeline had handled all kinds of things while we were at the grocery store, including a pack of raw chicken. I instructed her that she could not have any snacks until she washed her hands, so after we finally got to our house, she scurried off to the bathroom to do her hand washing. As she stepped up to the sink, she posed a question that could only be properly understood in the context that it was asked in: “Where’s the tool?” Plumbing is not something that I like doing and I have a very limited supply of plumbing tools, so I am glad it had nothing to do with tools for pipe repair. But I quickly realized what she was requesting: the little step stool that we have for the children to use. I retrieved “the tool,” she stepped up on it, cleaned her hands and, just as Papa had promised, was allowed to enjoy her bag of Cracker Jacks (not to mention that in her excitement, she also spilled her tea within 60 seconds after I gave it to her!).

We only have to be around children briefly before they demonstrate to us that their ability to speak clearly is still a work in progress, they are prone to make messes, and they have to be frequently corrected. Nevertheless, we know that all of those things are part of the process of maturation; they have not yet arrived at what they will ultimately become, but we can accept the role of helping them to mature into responsible adults.

Our journey to spiritual maturity consists of some of the same kinds of things that children experience as they grow up. Though exciting and fulfilling, the voyage of Christian growth is, in fact, also one that is filled with rough, even undesirable, experiences at times. One writer put it well as he commented concerning his spiritual journey: “If I’m told that the road to my glorious destination is marred by loose rocks and potholes, every jolt along the way reminds me that I’m on the right road.”

We can take great comfort in the truth that God is loving, patient and willing to guide us — even when we stumble, fail and make a mess — toward growth in our faith and relationship with Him. The Bible gives us many words of encouragement, assurance and promise regarding our lifelong spiritual adventure.

Included among them are the words found in 1 John 3:2-3: “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. Everyone who haves this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” (New International Version).