[Note: our church produced a Lent devotional guide with devotions written by members of our church family. This is the devotion I wrote for Friday, February 15.]
I once locked myself in the trunk of my father’s car. It seemed like a good idea at the time.
What happened was this: my father was doing some work in the yard and for some reason he had the trunk of his car open. My seven-year-old brain thought, “Wouldn’t it be funny if I hid in the trunk and then, when Daddy opens it back up, he’ll be surprised to see me, and I’ll jump into his arms, and we’ll have a good laugh about it.”
My seven-year-old brain did not think about the fact that it would be, once I closed the lid, dark in there—but it was. So as soon as the lid latched and the darkness enveloped me, I began to flail, kick, and scream for Daddy to come let me out of that dark, scary place in which I had placed myself.
Daddy came quickly and when he opened the trunk I did in fact jump into his arms and he did in fact have a good laugh about it. As for me, I had a good cry.
Once he stopped laughing he continued to hold me and asked, “Son, why did you close yourself up in the trunk?”
“Well, maybe you shouldn’t do that again.”
He set me down and that was that.
Upon reflection, I realized that I had done a foolish and maybe even a dangerous thing. Upon further reflection, I realized that while I was wrong in my actions, I was right in my expectations: my father would come for me, would hold me, would help me, would correct me, and would love me. I could count on my father, I knew, because he had always been there before and had always come through before.
I never locked myself in a car trunk again, but I have over the years done many a foolish and even dangerous thing. In every case, my Father—my God—has come for me, has held me, has helped me, has corrected me, and has loved me.
God has always been there, even when I was afraid that I had put myself beyond his reach. God has always loved me, even when I was afraid that I had become too foolish to love.
Lent is a time to reflect on our sins and repent of them. It is also a time to remember the steadfast love of God who loves neither because of nor in spite of who we are, but because of who God is—and God is love.