My oldest daughter and I are playing together when she invites me into one of her fascinating bunny trails…
“You know what I wish dad?” she asks with a sly smile.
“What do you wish?” I respond inquisitively.
“I wish that I could have a time machine to travel back in time!” Her smile widens.
Thinking she wants go to a certain place in time or maybe rehash a good memory I reply,
“Why do you you want a time machine?”
“So that when I do something bad I can jump in my time machine and fix it!”
I silently agree with her.
My mind traces off and I wonder why she feels the way she does. To want to go back in time to change the bad things she has done. Have I made her feel that way? That she only feels loved by me or accepted by me when she is being good? Or maybe it’s just something that everyone thinks about; a secret wish we all have.
I’ve certainly wished I had my own time machine. I would remain inside the capsule constantly, for all the times I screw up. I think of how my life would be if I could change the times where I have failed my wife, my kids, my friends and my God.
And it sounds pretty good. But then I think…
Isn’t failing part of the beauty in life?
For when we have screwed up royally we get to experience the grace of God in the same way; royal grace.
If my daughter and I had time machines of our own we would never understand the unfathomable grace of the Lord.
I turn to my daughter and tell her, “Ella, if we had our own time machines we would never know the love God has for us. He loves us always even when we screw up.”
At times I worry if my actions towards my children are painting a skewed picture of who God is to them. Am I to harsh or hard on them that I drive them to this time machine? For if I am not gracious to them in times when they need grace will they feel that they are only loved when they are doing good?
Will they judge the barometer of their ‘faith’ as going up and down based on how good or bad they have been?
If they follow all the rules, then they fall into grace, but when outside the lines of obedience do they too feel outside the lines of grace?
My insides turn into knots at the thought of leading them astray by showing through my parenting that they are only deserving of grace based on good or bad behavior.
I want my daughter to know that she will constantly be faced with shortcomings, and that those shortcomings will never go away. That when they fail in their weaknesses that the Lord is there to help them back up.
I want her to know she doesn’t have to constantly fall in and out of grace with Jesus.
Maybe what God asks of me is be willing to trust Him with my little girl and to be humble with her. To ask for forgiveness and apologize when I wrong her. To show her what it means to extend grace and to receive grace with each other.
More importantly I want her to know she doesn’t need a time machine, because His grace and love has transcended all of time.
“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
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