“Tonight I have nothing to offer You but weakness and fear.”
I wrote that two days ago. It was night and my heart was breaking … again. My world doesn’t look like I want it to look. I’m alone and lonely a great deal of the time. People I love don’t always love me back. Growth trajectories stagnate and plateau. Brokenness and pain and suffering seem to thrive in the lives of those around me. I ache for “all things new”, an end to this.
And so, in the middle of it, I cry out … and say stupid things to my Father.
“… I have nothing to offer You but weakness and fear.”
As though, on my good days. I have more to offer Him. As though there is anything of any value that I could possibly add to the solution.
The picture that jumps in my head this morning, in the light of day, is that of a dad assembling a gift for his toddler. He delights at the giving of a gift that will bring joy to his child. He sits on the floor amid sheets of hieroglyphic instructions, tiny plastic bags full of screws, bolts, nuts, and very specifically-sized hex keys. He struggles to hold two pieces of wood in the right configuration with only one hand so as to line up pre-drilled holes for a long bolt held just so in the other. He is working. He is creating something for the good of his beloved.
And his beloved? … his beloved is toddling awkwardly around the playroom trying to “help”. He squats gingerly and grabs hold of a wooden block with the letter “G” on it. A fluffy under-stuffed rabbit catches his eye, and he grabs that with his other hand. He wobbles back to his feet, confident that the tools and resources he has acquired will assist his father greatly. He makes his halting, stumbling way across the floor to his daddy and holds out his offerings with grubby hands. He says what he’s sure means “Here.” He waits.
His father fiddles with the noncooperative bolt for a moment longer, then stops. He looks into his son’s eyes — eyes that gleam with the anticipation of praise and validation — and then he drops the bolt and the two pieces of wood. He reverently takes the alphabet block and the toy rabbit, immediately granting them an honor that has nothing to do with their intrinsic value, and certainly nothing to do with the helpfulness of his assistant. In that moment, a block and a stuffed animal become half of a one-sided transaction that only happens because one party decided to be both giver and recipient. The father reaches out and pulls his boy onto his lap, sets the block and rabbit before them, and says “Can you help me, buddy? Let’s do this together.”
So yeah, I say stupid things to my Father … and He doesn’t care. Because His heart toward me is not the heart of a bookkeeper with lists of my near constant wrongdoings. His heart toward me is the heart of a father who loves his ridiculous, helpless, and beautiful son.
He’s making something glorious and amazing for me, He said so. Sometimes He lets me think I’m helping.
Originally posted to my Facebook page, September 10, 2013.