Sorting through some papers today, I came across an old forward someone had sent me about eight years ago. It was at a time when I was struggling with emotionally loaded job-related issues that I kept managing to bumble up over and over again, despite much prayer and best intentions. The e-mail arrived at work on a day that, according to my attached note, "I sat dejected and discouraged at my desk after 'messing up' yet again." I saved it as a reminder of God's grace and unconditional love.
Maybe you have faced some similar struggles? If so, here's hoping this lifts your spirits the way it lifted mine.
Six-year-old Brandon decided one Saturday morning to fix his parents pancakes. He found a big bowl and spoon, pulled a chair to the counter, opened the cupboard and pulled out the heavy flour canister, spilling it on the floor. He scooped some of the flour into the bowl with his hands, mixed in most of a cup of milk and added some sugar, leaving a floury trail on the floor which by now had a few tracks left by his kitten.
Brandon was covered with flour and getting frustrated. He wanted this to be something very good for Mom and Dad, but it was getting very bad. He didn't know what to do next, whether to put it all into the oven or on the stove, (and he didn't know how the stove worked!).
Suddenly he saw his kitten licking from the bowl of mix and reached out to push her away, knocking the egg carton to the floor. Frantically he tried to clean up this monumental mess but slipped on the eggs, getting his pajamas white and sticky. And just then he saw Dad standing at the door.
Big tears welled up in Brandon's eyes. All he'd wanted to do was something good, but he'd made a terrible mess. He was sure a scolding was coming, maybe even a spanking. But his father just watched him. Then, walking through the mess, he picked up his crying son, hugged him and loved him, getting his own pajamas white and sticky in the process.
That's how God deals with us. We try to do something good in life, but it turns into a mess. Our marriage gets all sticky or we insult a friend or we can't stand our job or our health goes sour. Sometimes we just stand there in tears because we can't think of anything else to do. That's when God picks us up and loves us and forgives us, even though some of our mess gets all over Him. But just because we might mess up, we can't stop trying to make ‘pancakes,’ for God or for others. Sooner or later we'll get it right, and then we’ll be glad we tried...