Ricky Jumawan had a three year old daughter named Terri. On a hot May afternoon, Terri watch her father mow the lawn, repair a leaky pipe in the kitchen and wash the family car. After completing his morning “to-do list”, Ricky sat down to eat a lunch of leftover pizza from the night before as he watched the noonday news and sports reports.
“Oh,oh!” Terri said to herself. “Daddy forgot something to drink. Daddy loves lemonade so I’m going to make him the biggest glass of lemonade that I can make him.” With that thought Terri went into the kitchen, pulled a chair up to the refrigerator, opened it and took out a bottle of lemon juice. She climbed up on the cabinet to look for and find the largest glass she could see. Struggling down to the floor, Terri managed to open the bottle of lemon juice to pour in the glass. To determine if it tasted good, Terri tasted it. “Ugh! Something’s missing! Yes, it’s the sugar! Sugar!” so she pulled the chair along the floor finds a plastic canister filled with what looks to be sugar. She pulled the canister down, drops it, leaving a small pile of sugar on the floor. Because the glass is filled with lemon juice that left no room for the sugar, Terri decided to pour some of the lemon juice in another glass to make some lemonade for her. One, two, three, four, five, six big tablespoons of sugar! “Daddy’s really going to like this!” thought Terri.
In the meantime, Ricky watched all this wondering if he should step in and save the rest of his kitchen. He decided for the moment to watch a little as Terri sledded down the chair, stepped in the pile of sugar, ran into the lower cabinet door and bumped into the open refrigerator door. Terri pulled the chair over to the refrigerator to get into the freezer compartment to get ice but cannot open the door. Frustrated Terri gave up her effort to open the freezer door and settled for just lemonade.
Finally, Terri put the glass of lemonade on a plate for a tray then yelled, “Daddy, I got something special for you!” Trying to balance the glass of lemonade on the plate, Terri spilled lemonade each step she made. On arrival to the chair where her father sat, she tripped on the rug spilling lemonade on the rug, chair and on her father.
Terri stood up, looked around, and saw lemonade all over the place. With lemonade on her father from head to toe, Terri began to cry. Through her tears, she looked up at her father with her sad eyes and troubled facial expression as though to say, “What are you going to do to me dad for the terrible mess I’ve made.”
Ricky only smiled, went over and hugged his daughter. He did not see a child that just made a big mess of two areas of the house but a child that he loves unconditionally. Ricky said to Terri, “You are my beloved daughter that I love beyond all measure even though the house is now a mess.”
As with Ricky and his daughter, Terri, God the Father of all people loves each person unconditionally even when we make a terrible, seemingly unforgivable mess of things. God’s arms are always wide open to take us back. He will give us as many opportunities to straighten up our lives as needed. Although this story is a little different, Jesus told a story very similar to this one. It is a story of God’s persistent, unconditional love for us in spite of our propensity to sin—the story of “the Prodigal Son”. Whenever you mess up, know that you have a Dad who will welcome you back with open arms.
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