As it turned out, we were out of cereal. As it also turned out, I was hungry. I wrangled my two youngest kids to head to Sobey’s as well as a little surprise.
What was the surprise?
Breakfast+hunger+kids= (you guessed it) McDonald’s
The kids scarfed down their hashbrown and proceeded to the play structure. This particular structure was made of multiple circles with large holes in each one that allowed children (not too small or too big) to climb through to the next.
As they ran off, I was excited for a few minutes of just sitting. I was tired from a late night of watching sports (’tis the season), I had a sore throat, and my leg was a little sore (Achilles ruptured 21 weeks ago).
It wasn’t even five minutes before my son came running to me.
“Dad, Dad!” Zeke exclaimed. “Karis is stuck.”
Good Grief! There is no way that this tired, old, sore body was going to be able to contort through those tiny holes. Now, if I had been born a snake, I could have slithered my way up to the very very top of the play structure to my daughter. If I had to, I could have probably found a way. However, she got herself up to the top, and she could get herself down. After all, she knew that if she climbed to the top, she would get stuck. I even reminded her before she went.
Karis didn’t take too kindly to getting down. She was crippled by fear as she clutched onto the plastic bubble located 25 feet above the ground. She started crying, “Daddy! Daddy! I’m scared! I’m stuck!”
That is when I sent my son.
Even though Karis had got herself into the situation, she couldn’t get her self out. She needed help. Luckily, my son was more than willing to go.
I was so proud of him as he spoke to her with love and compassion reassuring her it was going to be okay and that she just needed to trust him.
“I won’t let you fall. You just have to trust me, Karis. I can help you down.”
10 MINUTES! If I were Zeke, I would have lost my poop by that point. He stood there continually reassuring her that it was going to be okay–over and over again saying, “You just need to trust me.”
As I stood there, my frustration over this predicament began to dissipate. I was starting to feel my emotions well up as the Holy Spirit reminded me of how when I was stuck, in the consequences of my own wrong decision, my heavenly Father sent his son, Jesus.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son…”
Even more moving, the fact that God didn’t chastise me from afar.
“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
Zeke eventually convinced Karis to trust him, and they made their way down, but I think of how different it would have gone if instead of love, patience, kindness, compassion; he spoke vitreal, wrath, judgement, fear — knowing my daughter, probably not well. Luckily for her, Zeke was there (Ezekiel means, God will strengthen) to be her strength when she had none. He was willing to give her what she needed, how she needed it at that moment, grace through love (Karis is our take on Charis, which means grace).
Harold Fickett Jr. writes, “My favourite definition is, ‘Grace is God thinking in terms of what a man needs, rather than in terms of what he deserves.'”
It reminds me of that popular song by Hillsong United,
and you came to my rescue…”
As Psalm 40 says and U2 echoes,
“He inclined and heard my cry
He brought me up out of the pit
Out of the mire and clay.”
Maybe you feel stuck. Call out to God. His son, Jesus, is waiting with grace-filled arms to help you. He doesn’t stand there with a pointed finger. He isn’t a master rubbing your nose in your dirt. Jesus comes with no condemnation, but in hope and hope secure. It is a hope that will never ever fails. I love how the King James Version put Romans 5:5, “And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”
Though we may be stuck God sent his son to bring hope. It’s a hope that doesn’t carry shame but one of freedom. It’s a hope that comes into our hearts and can consume even the darkest corners but we have to be willing to let it. Not shame, but hope. Not condemnation, but compassion. Not wrath, but love.
I am thankful that while in a McDonald’s playground, the Holy Spirit reminded me that the Father sent his son, just as I sent my son.