When I was in elementary school, my parents orchestrated a hangout with a family from church. It was one of those “you guys come over for dinner and our kids will hang with your kids” kind of situation. My social awkwardness has always been...stout...even since I was a youngin’. So, I was nervous. The dinner was totally fine, and everything was going ok, until me and their son started “playing” with this toy xylophone. It had two little plastic mallets, with several large metal tubes, and I loved that thing. I’ve always been drawn to music as long as I can remember breathing, and playing with this instrument was no exception. Now while I was busy hammering out a masterpiece SURELY rivaling Chopin’s greatest works...my new “friend” had a different idea of musical expression. He thought it was more fun to drum on my head with the plastic mallets. Now, thinking back on it, that does sound kind of hilarious, and that’s probably why he was laughing while he did it. But at the time, I was not very excited about his “artistic direction.”
Now, to be fair, I was very young when this happened. My memory is definitely foggy (probably due to those cursed, multicolored plastic mallets). And, final disclaimer, I think I remember bossing him around beforehand, and telling him how to play the xylophone “correctly.” So, while this is a one-sided account, hopefully I’ve given you enough context to interpret.
All I remember next, is wanting him to stop beating my head with the little plastic mallets. I think that’s a reasonable thing to ask for. Stop hitting me in the face. Now, it didn’t exactly hurt a TON, but it was very annoying. I wanted it to stop. So I picked up one of the heavier metal cylinders from the xylophone set, and bludgeoned him over the head with it.
Okay, so “bludgeoned” is definitely a strong word (I didn’t even draw blood, come on people), but I definitely hit him as hard as I could over the head with that thing. While I could’ve made a poorly exposited biblical case for “vengeance sevenfold” in my defense, I knew that I had overreacted, and did something terribly wrong. I was filled with utter dread, and fear. I remember running into my closet, and hiding with the lights off behind a suitcase. The desperate cries of my former musical partner had reached both sets of parents downstairs, and soon after I heard them consoling him in the room next to mine. I knew it would only be a matter of time. I was absolutely terrified. I knew I’d done something really wrong. What was going to happen when my Dad found me?
I heard my Dad calling out my name, looking for me. I was crying, but tried to stifle my guilty sobs as much as I could. He opened the closet door, and turned on the lights. I knew I was going to be in so much trouble. I hung my head in shame, and dared not look him eye-to-eye.
And all that I remember him doing next, was stooping down to the floor, and hugging me. He held me as I sobbed through my blubbering apologies. He told me the other kid was okay, that I was going to be okay, and he told me that he loved me.
“You love me as You find me”
When I first started digesting that lyric, it took me right back to my first and most potent memory of childhood shame, hiding from my dad in a darkened closet after crowbarring a kid from Sunday school.
And I remembered my dad, literally, loving me as he found me.
“And I know I don’t deserve this kind of love
Somehow this kind of love is who You are
It’s a grace I could never add up
To be somebody You still want
You love me as You find me”
Sometimes, when it comes to my walk with Jesus, I still feel like that scared kid hiding behind a suitcase. I try to hide from His presence, because what I’ve done is just too bad. How could I be worthy? How could He forgive what I’ve done? How could I still be called a son of God?
“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:1-10 ESV)
I’ll always have a thousand questions as I wrestle with the unfathomableness of the mercy and grace of God for me. But I’ve come to learn that the answers tend to be found not in what I have or haven’t done, but in what Jesus has done.
Somehow, He loves me as He finds me.