For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
“I hate you!”
Stella’s words rang with anger, but that’s just what she meant to do. Her father had grounded her for a week, and now she would miss the dance she’d been looking forward to.
No matter that she had missed curfew three straight times, or that her father had let her go with a warning the first time. The second time cost her the use of her cell phone for a week, and her father had warned Stella that the next time would come with a grounding. But that couldn’t include the dance!
So Stella did the only thing she could think of – use her words to hurt her father, just as he had hurt her. He was on his way out the door to catch a flight from Miami to Seattle for a meeting that he’d been planning for months, one that would make or break his business. Maybe while he was on that five-hour flight, he’d have time to rethink his actions.
But even as quickly as she’d said the words, Stella had started to regret them. She didn’t really hate her father. She just felt he was being unfair. But just as the words were undoubtedly stabbing him in the heart as he boarded his flight, the words were also eating into Stella’s heart. She walked out of the house with tears in her eyes, and the scene kept replaying itself in her mind. “I hate you! I hate you! I hate you!”
Maybe the words or the regrets or the tears were what kept Stella from seeing the car speeding at her as she entered the street on the flashing “Don’t Walk” sign…
The word got to Stella’s father even before his plane had touched down in Seattle. She was alive but critical and in surgery. He quickly got a new ticket for the next flight to Miami and was barely on the ground for an hour before he was back on another jet heading home. He had gotten word to the people he was to meet with and they understood, even though he knew this might well cost him the big deal. At the moment, Stella was the bigger deal.
The next morning, when Stella opened her eyes, the first face she saw was her father’s. She began to cry.
“Daddy, I’m so sorry. I don’t hate you.”
“I know Stella. It’s OK.”
Stella thought for a moment. “But your meeting,” she said. “You missed your meeting.”
“That doesn’t matter right now, Stella,” her father replied. “There will be other meetings. I only have one you.”
“But you came all the way back after the terrible things I said.”
“Stella, nothing you do can ever make me stop loving you. I would have stepped in front of that car to save you.”
More tears fell as Stella quietly said, “I love you, Daddy.”
“I know, honey. I love you too.”
Stella’s father is just a man, but like most fathers, he gladly would have sacrificed himself for his child. Stella was absolutely wrong for the things she said, but in spite of that, her Dad missed an important meeting and would have even risked his own life if he could have protected her.
By comparison, our heavenly Father did even more. While we were still buried in our sins, He sent His only Son, Jesus, to die for us so that we could be right with Him. He didn’t wait for us to figure out that we’re no good on our own. Instead, He showed his fatherly love by making a way for us, even while we were wrong.
If you’ve never said thank you to the Lord for what He did for you, today would be a good day to do it. You can also send me a message to ask us to pray for or with you about your relationship with the Lord.
No matter what you’ve done, God really does love you and wants to have a relationship with you.
Reflection copyright © 2017 Doug DeBolt.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.