I wanted to share this story with you this week, I hope you enjoy it and understand just how much God loves you.
From her bedroom window, Rebecca eyed the children playing in the snow enviously. How she longed to play with them! “Now, Rebecca,” she remembered her father telling her that morning. “You can’t play in the snow today.” “Why not, Father?” Rebecca had asked. Every day, the neighborhood children gathered at a park just behind Rebecca’s house. “Just trust me, Rebecca. It’s not what’s best for you today,” her father had replied. At the time, Rebecca had responded by kissing her father on his cheek and assuring him that she would stay inside and read. But now she was having second thoughts. It is beautiful outside, she thought to herself. It was true: the sun was shining brilliantly. Why wouldn’t her father let her go play? Why should she have to miss out on all the fun? When a snowball exploded just outside her window, Rebecca decided she couldn’t stand it any longer. She simply had to go join the others!
Leaving her book on the table, Rebecca slipped outside. She tried to tell herself she was having a good time, but all the while her heart felt uncomfortable. She kept looking this way and that, fearful least her father see her. After a few hours, Rebecca finally said her goodbyes and headed back towards the house. She wanted to be safely lodged in her room before her father came home. Intent on getting to her room as quickly as possible, Rebecca didn’t see the mitten someone had left on the stairs until her foot slipped on it. Next thing she knew, she had fallen several stairs. To her horror, she noticed that she had hit her father’s favorite picture when she fell! A huge gash ran along the front of the picture. Normally, Rebecca would have hurried immediately to her father after such a fall so he could doctor her up and make her feel better. But not this time. How could she face her father right now? She had disobeyed him and ruined his favorite picture! Biting her lips to keep from crying out, Rebecca grabbed the ruined picture and hobbled to her room.
For the remainder of the day, she lay in agony. Her body ached from the bruises she received on her fall. But her heart—ah, that ached worse of all! She felt certain that her father would no longer love her. She had messed up in the past, but surely this time she had gone too far! He would probably never want to speak to her again. How could he still love her? She sobbed uncontrollably on her pillow. She had always been close to her father. They had played and studied together. They had laughed and cried together. But not now. No, she felt certain that all those wonderful times were over. Who knows how long she would have lain thus had not her nanny come in to check on her. Rebecca’s nanny had a way about her of finding out exactly what was wrong and offering solid, wise counsel. Tonight was no exception. “Rebecca, dear,” she said firmly, but gently. “You’ve been very wrong. But you must not continue in your wrongness by sitting here. You must go to your father with the broken picture in your hand and tell him everything.” “Oh, but I can’t! I’m not worthy of His love!” Rebecca sobbed. Her nanny sighed patiently. “You were no more worthy of it yesterday than today, child. Your father loves you because you’re his daughter, not because of anything you do or don’t do. Hasn’t he told you everyday since you were a little girl, ‘I love you’? Do you doubt his word? Do you really think his love is dependent on you?”
Doubt his word—that was an angle Rebecca had never thought of before. Maybe she should go see her father…yes, she must go see him, for if she didn’t, she’d never be able to rest.
So, still shaking and trembling with fear, Rebecca limped down the hall to the living room. She paused at the doorway. Her father was sitting in his favorite chair, just like he did every night. He looked up when she entered, and a smile radiating with love illuminated his face. “Ah, you’ve come at last! I’ve been waiting. Come, sit here on my lap.” As he spoke, he opened his arms widely.
Rebecca couldn’t stand it. “Oh, you don’t understand, Father! You can’t love me anymore. I’ve been terribly wicked and…” Rebecca held up the picture frame for her father to see. “I know, Rebecca—more than you think. I watched you go outside. I watched you fall and hit the picture frame. I saw it all.” “You did?” Rebecca was flabbergasted. “But, but weren’t you at work?” Her father shook his head. “I took the day off to spend some special time with you. That’s why I told you not to go outside to play. Ever since I saw you fall, I’ve been longing for you to come to me so I could bandage your wounds and help you. Won’t you come now?”
Rebecca could hardly believe her ears. Her father had planned to spend the afternoon with her…and she had missed it. Oh, what foolishness! Yet her father knew it all…and loved her anyway. Could it be? “But, Father, how can you love me now?” Rebecca’s father smiled a smile she would never forget. “Rebecca, dear, I loved you before you were born. You’re my daughter and I will always love you. Although sometimes your actions will result in consequences you could have avoided, nothing can ever separate you from my love. Now won’t you come and let me help you with those bruises?”
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.” Romans 8:35-37
Wade Phillips is senior pastor of Madisonville Christian Fellowship.