The other day I read a touching tale that holds an encouraging lesson for us as children of God. The story was telling the tale of the damaged relationship between a father and his daughter, and the consequent scars on both of their hearts. Because of miscommunication and misunderstanding both of them had tucked their feelings for each other far away in dark basements of their hearts, but no matter how far we try to hide our pain unless we find real healing, such hurts will always continue to affect us and radiate confusion into our daily lives.
One day, the daughter found out that her father was dying. This time she could no longer refuse to visit the man who had been such an integral part of her youth.
When she came in they both stared at each other for some time in silence.
At last, the old man looked up and said in weak tones, “Thank you for coming, my dear daughter. You know… I have always loved you. I am very sorry for the wrongs I have done.”
The daughter’s eyes flashed with anger. “You broke your word, Daddy.”
“How?” The father asked.
The daughter remembered it all too well. It had been only a small thing, but to her, it was characteristic of the relationship they had. When she was still a little girl, her father had been trying to teach her to ride a bike. Carefully he was holding his daughter by the shoulder as she learned to balance on the two wheels. She was scared, but he had told her in soothing tones that he was there and that nothing would happen. He would hold her.
But something did happen.
As the girl was getting the hang of it, trusting that father would not let her go, she began to pedal harder until, all of a sudden, the father did let her go.
She screamed, and the bike tipped over. The girl landed on her head on the hard street and injured herself.
Father had promised that he would not let her go.
But he did, and the girl fell.
Father’s word was no good. He couldn’t be trusted and from that day forward their relationship went downhill. She had lost her faith in his word.
As she retold the story to her father she relived the pain of the moment. “Why did you do that father? That was so mean of you. That incident had an enormous impact on me.”
The father’s eyes filled with tears as he recalled the incident. “I never wanted to let you go, my dear daughter. But I tripped myself and sprained my ankle. That’s why I let go of you. That day I fell myself.”
In a way, this is the story of all of our lives. We all fail and we all fall to the ground sooner or later. We may not want to, and we do not plan to hurt others, but we often do. But we must get up and forgive each other as we are just fallible people. Only Jesus is not.
And He will not let us go when He tells us He will hold us. We can trust in His promise.
Sometimes it may look like He doesn’t hold us. Things can happen that seem contrary to His words. A sickness, a bereavement or a serious problem… Why did you let that happen, God? You said You would hold me.
But He does hold us, unlike the father in the unfortunate story above. But He wants us to trust Him, especially in those days when life seems perplexing and the devil tries to tempt us to throw in the towel.
Jesus is never wrong. He is the rock on which we can place our feet and His hands never slip.
You and I can fail and the whole world can fail, but Jesus never fails. Hold on to Jesus and draw nigh unto Him so He can carry your sorrow. Do not carry it alone, do not dump the load on others, or make their load heavier because of misunderstandings, anger or bitterness.
Hereby shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another.
It’s not easy to love. But that’s the main lesson God wants us to learn in the school of life. And God is a good teacher who doesn’t kick you out of the class if you fail your tests once again. What’s more, if you keep trying and you keep seeking to please Him you are guaranteed your diploma.
Serving and loving God makes it worth it all.