Not long after my divorce, I was sitting in church one Sunday morning and my pastor told a story that rocked me. I started weeping immediately.
My pastor has a friend who has a young son. The young boy loves his sandbox in the backyard, but he has very sensitive eyes. A few times as he played in the sandbox after a rain, he splashed water and sand into his eyes. The boy’s father established a new rule…if there is water in the sandbox; you can’t play in the sandbox.
Well…one day, as boys will do, he broke the rule and played in the sandbox anyway and ignored the standing water. Sure enough…very quickly he had painful sand in his eyes and he started to cry. His dad looked out the back door at what was happening and wondered what his son would do. Would he sit there and condemn himself…thinking he somehow deserved the sand in his eyes because he had broken the rule? Or would he come running to his Daddy, knowing that he had broken the rule, but also knowing that his Daddy could get the sand out and make it better.
The son came running to his Daddy.
A DIRTY CHILD IS EASIER TO LOVE THAN A DISTANT CHILD.
When my pastor said that, I began weeping. I was the poster boy for the “distant child syndrome”. My entire life had been spent trying to clean myself up and make myself “worthy” of my Father’s love and affection. I wanted God to like me more…I wanted Him to be proud of me and glad that I was on His “team”. Then I’d blow it and distance myself until I felt I had paid my penance enough to come back to Him. I never felt safe enough with God to come to Him reeking of sin and covered with filth. I was afraid he would be mad or disappointed or both. I was ashamed. I tried to hide. Just like Adam in the Garden. I distanced myself from God.
No matter what we have done in the past, God pursues us like a Jealous Lover. The price for our sin has already been paid! We are set free! He came looking for Adam in the garden. He watched for the Prodigal on the horizon. And He is pursuing YOU! Just as you are right now this very moment!