Are You Hiding From God?
I remember the hot summer when we discovered ice cream sandwiches in the
bottom of the cooler at the corner store. They were ten cents apiece, a lot
back then. I don't remember how we came to buy one and taste the sweet
chocolate graham crust and the melting vanilla ice cream, but we were mad for
them after that. Of course, none of us had any money, allowances being
of on our side of town. Whether we rode our bikes, or played ball, or sat and
marbles, we talked and dreamed about those soft, creamy sandwiches. Within a
week we had tapped out our sources of money: mooching and pop bottles for 2
My dad worked nights, coming home to join us for breakfast, and then sleeping
late afternoon. When he came home one morning I heard the jingle of change in
pants and something ugly crept into my mind. That change was just what we
needed, what I had to have. All day long I kept coming into the house and
at his door. Sleeping sounds: slow, even snoring. I cracked the door, and
hanging at the foot of the bed were those pants, that change, those ice cream
sandwiches; my chance to be the big man in the neighborhood. I slipped in and
took a handful of change. We ate like greedy pigs, and I was a hero to my
of friends as we sat in the shade of the corner store. They thought I was
rich. I told
them it was birthday money I'd saved. I felt satisfied before I ever ate them
sandwiches. I was somebody.
That went on every day for about two weeks and what a time it was! I had
good at slipping in and slipping out, and then ran to my buddies and we
the store. One day there was no change in dad's pocket so I felt for his
hesitated a moment, then took out two whole dollars. I had been okay with
the change, but those dollars made my face feel hot. Even before we began
gorging ourselves on ice cream, my stomach felt sick. The importance and joy
had felt buying for my friends was gone that afternoon. I realized I was in
deep. If dad knew, he'd kill me, but worse, he'd have that look in his eye,
disappointment he would get when I'd miss catching a ball or get a bad grade.
Now, I had stolen from my dad. I couldn't face him, and didn't know what to
Early that afternoon, the sun high and hot, I grabbed my fishing pole and
down the tracks to the reservoir, wishing my stomach would quit aching, and
praying nobody would see me crying.
Sometimes we have sinned in our own eyes so deeply that we don't know how to
return to God. Our sin seems so big we simply can't face Him. It isn't so
we don't love God. In fact, it is largely because we do that we cannot
how to tell Him about what we did. Our betrayal of His love, our utter
we promised devotion, makes us feel unworthy of Him.
Well, of course we are unworthy whatever we do, we know that doctrinally, but
now we feel it, and just can't lift our faces to His. We go away. We go
maybe like I did, like even the apostle Peter did. Driven by guilt at his
during our Lord's arrest and trial, Peter walked slowly into the shadow world
self-rejection. He buried himself back in what he knew best - fishing. Peter
felt remorse and despair.
Have you wept those bitter tears? Have you walked away from Him because of
your sin? Unworthy, unacceptable. God will use your failure for your good,
your instruction, your growth. Although just a little boy, my dad taught me
something about God that hot afternoon fishing in the old reservoir,
you need to know, something your Father wants you to discover today for
As I sat hurting that day, knowing there was no way to get right with my dad,
him walking along the tracks. He was big man who sort of swaggered like a
in a roiling sea, his arms swinging to the sides as he went. But now he was
walking slow and deliberate, looking somehow as heavy as I felt. I couldn't
just sat there, watching him come to me, my pole motionless in my hands,
breathing. I don't remember being afraid. No, it was more so feeling deeply
at hurting him. My eyes were watery when he came up. He just quietly sat
alongside me and stared in the water with me.
After what seemed a very long time he asked, "How're they biting son?
I couldn't speak. I was too near crying, and he deserved me acting with some
dignity I thought. We sat quietly, a bird singing nearby, and I stuck out my
best I could, willing to take whatever beating he thought I needed, if he
take me back.
In a moment I will never forget, he said, "Son, I've known since the first
took the money. I watched out the window as you and your friends ate ice
I didn't say anything, because I wanted to let you come and tell me yourself.
me that you were stealing from me, but it hurt more you didn't come and tell
Son, you can always come to me when you've done wrong. I love you son." And
with that, his hand reached out, not to strike me, but to pull me to his
I cried. As I cried, my dad told me he trusted me, and that everything he had
be mine some day. Because I couldn't go to him, he came to me.
God is coming to you. It isn't so much your sin that hurts Him, as your
reluctance to face Him and trust Him even in your failings. He is your
His calling is unchanging. His love, unfailing. He has come seeking you, true
Shepherd that He is. Bury your head in His chest, accept His embrace, and
begin again, as at the first, to follow Him. There, in His grace, you will
firm foundation for serving others, your own needs met. Jesus has work for
[ Bob (GrampsTN@aol.com) -- from 'andychaps_the-funnies' ]
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