To a boy of three the world’s a wonder.
Wrapped in mystery, gilded with discovery and glistening with delight, every step is an adventure.
I was reminded of this joyful innocence when I went for an Easter afternoon walk in a park with my two grandsons.
Finley, two and making a remarkable recovery from his leukemia to the point where it’s hard to believe he’s still got it – or ever had it – decided to sit down on the sidewalk and summarily remove his shoes and socks.
Grampy gently put them back on – thankful that this only happened once and nothing else came off.
Soon a little voice shouted behind me. I turned to see Finley’s older brother Jackson running with his arm held out.
A big grin crossed his handsome face.
“Grampy, take these. I want to give them to Mommy.”
He opened his little hand.
There was a loose clump of daisies. Some of the petals had fallen off and several of the stems were bent.
It was a pretty sorry bouquet.
“Jackson, these are beautiful!” I told him. “Mommy will be so excited to get them!”
I held onto to the flowers as if they were prize-winning marigolds. I knew his mom would be happy, thank him profusely and give him a big hug. She’d tell him how wonderful these haggard-looking daises were.
And for that moment little Jackson would be on cloud nine, so proud that he had done this extraordinary thing for his mother and given her this precious gift.
When I had emergency surgery a year ago, Jackson and his older sister Ava made get-well cards for me. Jackson’s had random indecipherable lines scrawled all over it. Ava’s had a note inside:
“What did they do to you? I want to see you after you get home.”
The cards still sit on my desk – symbols of something wonderfully and beautifully indescribable.
I don’t love the cards. I love the little people who loved me enough to do that for me, though they hardly knew how. That’s why I can’t part with those simple, awkwardly scrawled, little messages.
I accept the frailties because I know the heart. I know and understand the pure intention and I’m moved by the desire.
Jackson’s daisies may never have made it into a vase but they entered a mother’s soul.
Anyone who has ever loved a child knows exactly what I’m talking about.
Trinkets and scribbles become priceless emblems of an affection that cannot be defined – a tenderness that will never be rejected.
This is how God sees us. It’s how he knows us. It’s how he loves us.
He loves us in spite of ourselves, not because of ourselves. He loves and accepts us in our weakness not in our strength; in our ignorance not in our knowledge. Just like a little child, we can’t bring much to God. He knows that and loves us just the same.
This is the profundity of God’s grace.
This is the incalculable dimension of his love.
If we as parents love our kids that much imagine how much more our heavenly Father loves us.
The prophet Isaiah writes of God’s tender-hearted care – of his divine sensitivity:
“A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth” (Isaiah 42:3, KJV).
“He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle. He will bring justice to all who have been wronged” (NLT).
The life that is bruised in heartache, sin and defeat will not be broken by the God who knows and cares. The soul that is just barely flickering in the cold despair of the lonely night God will never snuff out.
A man or woman may be down. With God they are never out.
The stems of Jackson’s daisies may have been bent, the petals falling off, but his mom readily accepted them – and gently embraced the boy who had done all he could.
She would get other gifts – and nicer flowers – in the years to come. But for now this was more than enough to make her heart dance with joy to the rhythms of her love.
“The Lord is compassionate and merciful,” David wrote, “slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever” (Psalm 103: 8-9, NLT).
David would have known this. More than once, as did Moses, the apostles and great saints through the ages, the shepherd king revealed his altogether too human frailty. And so he could tell us:
“The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him” (vs. 13).
Why does God treat us so patiently and with such compassion and forgiveness?
“For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust” (vs. 14).
To God we are like a three – year old bringing him crumpled daisies.
The poet Whittier put it well:
“All sin and wrong, Compassion which forgives
To the uttermost, and Justice whose clear eyes
Through lapse and failure look to the intent,
And judge our frailty by the life we meant.”
This is God’s love.
He accepts our bent daisies. To him they are more than enough.