As I put the table back together, I was overwhelmed by what love does. One of my daughters found great joy in climbing on stuff. She has no filter for what can and cannot sustain her little body, nor does she understand the law of gravity. So she climbs, and jumps, and falls, and laughs. The other day, though, she had taken her adventurous endeavors beyond the realm of safety. Her mom and I reminded her time after time that the furniture wasn’t a diving board or a mountain to climb. When warned, she stopped, but she didn’t obey. She stopped because she was caught, not because she was ready to stop climbing. It wasn’t a surprise when she walked into the kitchen with a little table in one hand and two of the table legs in another. Her feats had led her to jump on the table in order to jump onto her bed. The table crumbled as the particle board legs ripped apart. “Papaw can fix this can’t he.” She boldly claimed as she showed me the table. (My dad is a carpenter and has made most of the furniture in the house, so I didn’t take it personally when she didn’t ask if I could fix it.) We then talked about how the table was broken. Her lack of concern about what she had done was more troublesome than the breaking of the table. Of course that broke her heart and she went away to reconcile with God and herself for a few minutes.
It was then that I turned to the table. I could just throw it away, and my daughter would know that when we break stuff, sometimes we lose it and it can’t be replaced. I could call my dad and ask him to build her one that wouldn’t break when a kid adventurously stepped on it. I picked up the legs and set them back into place. They still fit, although it was easy to see where the breaks happened. I grabbed some lock tight glue and began to put the table back together. After I was finished, my daughter walked into the kitchen, saw her table and was stunned. She ran to me with a huge hug, tears in her eyes as she thought that her actions had caused the table to be lost forever. We talked for a minute about how the table was fixed but now it could break even easier and how much more responsible she had to be with it. It wasn’t like it was before. Although restored it breaks easier now.
I realized how many times I’ve been that table. I break easier now. But God has yet to throw me away, he keeps restoring me, gluing me back together.
I realized how many times I’ve been like my little girl. God warns me about something all day, yet I don’t listen until I break something.
I realized what love does through a good father. He warns his kids. He disciplines their rebellion. He fixes the stuff they break and gives it back to them.