You can learn a lot from a four year old. Now Im not talking about the obvious like the names of every dinosaur known to man, or the behavioral adage patience is a virtue. No, Im talking about deep and meaningful lessons, the kind that happen in an instant, yet affect you for the rest of your life. I had such an experience when my son (Zac) taught me a lesson on forgiveness and unconditional love.
It started out with an innocent itch you know, the one that gets deep into your skin and wont go away until sufficiently scratched. This particular itch centered on remembering a line from the movie The Preachers Wife.
If youve seen The Preachers Wife, you know the script is full of emotional one-liners. I had seen the movie years ago and was having trouble remembering one exact line.
One night Im channel surfing and lo and behold, The Preachers Wife is on Disney. Its 8:30pm, the movie started at 8:00pm and Im already praying the line Im looking for wasnt in the parts Ive already missed. I yell to my wife that Preachers Wife is on, then settled into my seat with the single-minded mission of capturing THE line.
Suffice to say that the kids had other plans for me. First it was the electronic keyboard at full volume a gift from a grandmother who took obvious joy in helping me relive my own childhood. Then it was the dinosaur roars, followed by the cries of my two-year old Hes scarying me! Then came the incessant Im thirsty, followed by Im hungry, followed by read me this book, followed by I want a bath. In the span of one hour, my little angels had become anything but, and my blood pressure was rising with each passing minute.
Zacariah David, I yelled thinking like all parents do, that using the middle name reinforces to the child I mean business. Stop picking with her...apologize now please ...in a minute sweety... hang on, a commercials coming... wait just a second... stop fighting... alright, thats it, time out.
Sound familiar parents?
Finally the big moment came. I slapped the couch several times and said, Shh...this is it. Right at that moment, both kids began to wail Im talking screams that would make even a banshee blush. Even though I got right up next to the speaker, I missed the line. I clenched my teeth, suppressed an internal scream, and stormed off to another room, angry as Ive ever been.
I made it to our basement steps, sat down in the dark, and like many parents caught in the grips of frustration, I tried counting to ten.
Right about the time I got to fifty, Zac comes around the corner and asks Whats wrong Dad? I replied, Daddys real upset. I missed a special part of the movie because you and Caycie decided to throw a fit. Im angry and frustrated and not handling things well right now.
My son, all four-years and forty pounds, put his arms around me, kissed me on the cheek and said, Its OK, I still love you. As I hugged my son in the dark, with tears flowing, I realized the hand of God had just touched me in very personal and profound way.
This same heavenly Father, in the very same vein of love and forgiveness, sent his Son to be sacrificed so that we may have the chance to live eternal. A son who, even on our worst and most selfish days, has the glorious ability to pull us back to reality with Him as the focal point in our lives. A son who daily teaches each of us that unconditional love and forgiveness do exist. For whether we stumble and fall, or simply lose sight, our Heavenly Father reminds each us, Its OK, I still love you.
Months later, and the house to myself, I was able to watch the Preachers Wife uninterrupted funny how God plans that. The line I was looking for was this: Look in wondrous glory at someone you love, and see the face of God.
Sometimes, while Zac isnt watching, Ill watch him closely and marvel what lies ahead for him. With his words Its Ok Dad, I still love you, echoing through my head, Ill look in wondrous glory at this son I love and see the grace of God.
In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son... (Hebrews 1:2-3)