I am a wuss.
When I was growing up, we watched the movie Jaws. I imagined that the floor was an ocean and that if my feet touched it, that massive shark would bite them. Twenty five years later I still refuse to have my feet on the floor during scary moments. In movie theaters, at home, at friends’ houses, I will yank my feet up if a movie grows dark and an “oboe of terror” starts to mournfully play.
I am a wuss, but sometimes this world is legitimately scary.
The Department of Justice recently did a study that showed that 1 out of every 4 girls will be raped before graduating college.
Every day, kids plant landmines online that will not explode until they are older and realize a photo can never, ever be deleted from the Internet.
The only fictional part of movies like “Man on Fire,” and “Taken,” is the idea that someone is coming to rescue the kidnapped and sex slaved children around the world.
We are hurt and continuing to hurt each other.
And into that world, I am sending my two daughters.
That scares me sometimes. I’m trying to send my two daughters out into the world so full of love that when culture tries to spill them, they will not empty. When faced with temptations or trials or hurts, they will be so sure of who they are, in both our family and our God, that they will not be full of doubt. That they will know that whatever they do, whoever they grow into, the love I gave them as children is the love I will give them as adults.
My fear is that they will think I am two dads, in the same way lots of Christians think there are two gods. (That almost sounded like a reference to the show, “My 2 Dads,” but I assure you it was not. Worst show concept. “We were both sleeping with your mom and don’t know which one of us is your father. I’m wacky, he’s straight laced!”)
What do I mean by two gods?
Simply this: Sometimes, we live our lives as if there is a Pre Crucifixion God and an After Crucifixion God.
If you’re a Christian, at some point in your life you’ve been bowled over by the graciousness and wildly unkempt love God had for you Pre Crucifixion. He so greatly desired your presence and your closeness that he sent his only son to the cross to draw your near. Over a period of generations he unfolded a plan that sent his son to the cross and you to his arms. His love was so deep and true that he forsake his own son to open the door to you. There is no greater love.
We are overwhelmed by Pre Crucifixion God. He is amazing and as one author put it, almost wasteful in his love for us he pours it out so generously and lavishly.
And then we start to live life.
Then the weeks and months start to stack up between us and that moment when we first encountered Pre-Crucifixion God. We get some distance between us and that unleashed, unbridled love. And we make some mistakes. We fail. We fall down. And that is when we meet After Crucifixion God.
That is when we find ourselves hiding in the shadows. Like Adam and Eve accepting an apple when they were already given the whole orchard, we choose the small and insignificant and we blow it. In that moment, what do we do?
Do we run back to Pre-Crucifixion God? Do we say to ourselves, “This God of mine, he loved me so much that he sent his son to die for me. Where else could I find love like that? Where could I find forgiveness like that? Look what he did in the past, surely he would love me in the present!”
No, that is usually not what I do. Often, when I fail, I construct a less loving God in my head. He has arbitrary rules and regulations. He is not so loving. He is a God who keeps score and tallies failure. He wants me to earn things. He does not lavish grace. He regulates it. I end up finding an After Crucifixion God. A less loving caricature of the God I used to know.
I end up serving two Gods.
But the truth is, there is only one God.
God was not just loving in the past, he is love.
God was not just forgiving in the past, he is forgiveness.
God was not just gracious in the past, he is grace.
The God who drew you near with the death of his son, is the same God who loves you through the new failures of the new day. That wild love, is still the love he gives.
Because there is only one God.
I hope my daughters will always know that the dad who loved them when they were 3 will love them when they are 33. I hope L.E. and McRae will always know my love for them is not subject to performance or accomplishment. It just is.
And I’m only a dad, a broken human of a dad.
Imagine how the one God feels about you?