The Love Of A Father
by Stephanie Olson, Co-founder Set Me Free Ministries
I don’t know how many of you know about the stuffed animal/virtual pets called Webkinz, but my guess is, if you’re a mom of young kids, you secretly play some of the games at times.
We recently had a situation in our family that I would like to share with you involving a Webkinz gift. My daughter Noel received a Webkinz from her grandma while we were in Chicago visiting family. She was very excited to get home and enter the doll's “secret code” to access the virtual world that is Webkinz World. Because we were busy getting back into the swing of things after we returned home, we wound up putting it off for a couple of weeks.
Last week, Noel asked me if we could enter the secret code. We sat down with the doll, the computer, and the secret code, which was contained securely in the plastic tag wrapped around the stuffed dog's neck. To our surprise, the code didn’t work. We were told by our virtual adoption agency agent that our code had previously been used. What?!
Now, for those of you who are not familiar with Webkinz World, a code can be used once and only once. The next business day I phoned Webkinz World to be told that not only had the code been used, but it had been used while in my possession. What came out of her mouth next had me angry and chuckling all at the same time. She said that Tessa had entered the code and named the stuffed Dachshund “Wenie.”
Ugh! My second born, innocent child took the code out of the plastic tag, used the code, and then put it back to make it look like no one had used it. Wow! Needless to say, that afternoon after Tessa got home from school, we had a little chat. It wasn’t one of those parental yelling sessions. No, this was one of those moments in which I kept my voice calm and low and used words like “disappointed” and “it’s like stealing” and “you need to ask God for forgiveness, as well as Noel.” Yes, that tends to hurt more, doesn’t it? After informing Tessa she would be buying Noel a new Webkinz, she went to her room and cried.
What became so clear to me was how we as children of God are no different than Tessa at times. We sin and hope no one will find out. We do something wrong and wait, hoping there are no consequences. Ah, but there always are. Matthew tells us, “There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.” So true in Tessa’s case.
But what is also true is the rest of the story. When I went upstairs to check on Tessa, I wrapped my arms around her and told her how much I loved her. There is nothing she can do that will make me love her less. Now, if a flawed, imperfect mom can give that kind of grace, how much more can a perfect, grace-filled loving, Heavenly Father give us?
It doesn’t matter what you have done. There is nothing you can do to make Jesus love you less. He loves you. He doesn’t ask us to live a right life to make things difficult or hard for us. He wants us to live a life of holiness because He wants the absolute best for us. He loves us that much! And yet, when we fall short of His glory, when we sin and repent and ask for forgiveness, He disciplines us and then hugs us and tells us how much we are loved. Just like I expect Tessa to never do that again, He expects us to turn from our old ways and turn toward Him. And just like I love Tessa more than I can explain, He loves us more than we can comprehend!