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Glimpse of Grace on a Playground

Years ago, when my daughters were young, I spent many warm summer mornings playing in a park near our house with the youngest of the two while the older one was busy mastering First Grade.
One morning I knew it was time to go home for lunch and a nap when my daughter started staring off into space while swinging. As was often the case, whenever it came time to go home, her legs were just “too tired” to walk.  Rather than debate or cajole, I scooped her up in my arms and headed home. She was fading fast. I could tell because she started her “nap-time-settling-in” routine. She began to rub her sweaty brow into my shoulder. Not wanting her to fall asleep before lunch, I whispered in her ear those magic words that makes everyone’s ears perk up. “I’ve got a secret,” I said. Her head popped up off of my should as she asked, “What is it?” Busted! I didn’t really have a secret.  I was desperate. I took a shot in the dark. I said the first thing that popped into my mind. “I love you.”
That wasn’t really a secret but I hoped that it would suffice for the moment. But, no. Now alert, she pressed on. “Why?” she demanded.
“Why?” Boy, I should have seen that one coming since it is the favorite question of most three year olds.  But I didn’t. I didn’t see it coming. God is gracious, though.  Without missing a beat, without even thinking, I replied, “Because you’re mine!”
Later that day, and many times since then, I have thought of that little scenario played out so long ago. I’ve pondered her question and my response. I didn’t need to think about my answer. It came out naturally, spontaneously. And in that little exchange between a father and his sleepy little girl we are reminded of the heart of the Gospel embodied in Jesus of Nazareth. God loves us. Why? Because we are His.

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