Each week I cut the yard with precision. When you get to drive the tractor it’s not bad. Growing up we had a pretty good sized yard. The property was three quarters of an acre which meant you had at least an hour of uninterrupted yard cutting time. There was peace on the tractor. Nothing but the air, and wide open grass beneath me.
Over time I had gotten used to driving it. That involved taking the turns at a little higher speed than recommended. Navigating the blade platform to adjust the cut at just the right height, pulling the grass sweeper behind to pick up the clippings, backing up to pick up missed areas, and because I had become a pro (or so I thought) I could drive with one hand.
Since I was the oldest driving the tractor was a privilege. My younger brothers wanted to drive. They would ask our dad, but – nope. They were too young, and I had the wheel. It was my dad’s pride – his tractor, and he trusted me with it.
Then one Saturday morning I wrecked the tractor.
It started as a regular morning – cartoons, breakfast, and then fire up the tractor to get the grass cut. The exception was the heavy blanket of dew still on the ground. There was a pattern to cutting the grass; front yard first, then side yard, finally back yard. The front yard was cut just fine, I was moving right along. I made the first two rounds in the side yard, and then on the third trip around – crash.
No, I did not hit the house.
Instead, I hit the telephone pole. In between our house, and the neighbor’s driveway stood a telephone pole.
The dew on the grass served as an ice rink for the tractor tires. I knew not to drive fast with wet grass. My dad had told me many times. Instead the wisdom of my youth said, “Yea, yea, its ok, you got this.” And, got this I did – right into the telephone pole. Head on. Crash! If there were air bags back then it would have deployed.
The tractor came to a dead stop. After I adjusted myself back into the seat, I looked up only to see the hood cracked, shifted over about 12 inches from where it was supposed to be, and hanging off to one side. The pole? It was just fine. Not a scrape just some yellow paint that served as a bruise. I quickly turned off the tractor, and jumped off.
Surveying the damage thoughts began to compete with themselves about how to cover this up? Thoughts like:
- The famous – I didn’t do it.
- Even though they weren’t even around – One of my brothers did it. (oh stop acting like you’ve never done or thought of that)
- The last resort of – I have no idea what happened.
Have you ever had thoughts like that? Something happens, and all of a sudden because you knew better, but ignored the warnings the result was unfavorable? And now, you are in trouble.
Maybe you were able to hide it? Maybe, like me, you weren’t.
I knew I had to tell my dad what happened. He would know the truth. If I didn’t fess up, the yellow paint on the telephone pole, skid marks in the grass, smashed in tractor hood, and keys in my hand would tell the whole story. And, point right to me!
This morning as I was doing dishes I was asking God to speak to me, let me know He still loved me and is there for me. That He has me right where He wants me. That He has everything under control.
As I washed a plate the vision of my dad came to mind – crystal like the Caribbean waters. As I ran to him, tears running down my cheeks, scared that I would certainly get in trouble, sad that I damaged his tractor, and with each step wanting to turn the other way I knew I had to tell him what I did.
Out of the corner of his eye, my dad saw me running to him crying. He immediately turned off the lawn mower. Cutting the yard was a two man process, and my dad was trimming around the trees and house with the lawn mower. He stood there with arms wide open to embrace me when I approached and said, “What is wrong, what happened?” All I could say, with tears now streaming, is “I’m sorry daddy. I wrecked your tractor.”
He hugged me, and we walked back to the tractor. My dad kept saying “it’s ok. I’m glad you are not hurt.” And what has now moved to the front of my mind were his words “Thank you for telling me right away, and not hiding it.”
With God as our Heavenly Father isn’t that what he wants from us?
- God had answered me.
“The LORD has heard my plea.” Ps. 6:9a NLT
- God already knows what we did.
“Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.” Ps. 136:16 NLT
- God is merciful even when we rebel.
“Yet He was merciful and forgave their sins and did not destroy them all.” Ps. 78:38 NLT
- God dispels our excuses.
“Do you remember what I told you?” Jn. 15:20a NLT
- God is ready to embrace us.
“And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son.” Lk. 15:20 NLT
- God is forgiving, gracious, and merciful.
“But you are a God of forgiveness, gracious and merciful, slow to become angry, and rich in unfailing love.” Neh. 9:17b NLT
- God is waiting for us to tell Him we are sorry.
“Bring your confessions, and return to the LORD.” Hos. 14:2a NLT
By no means is my dad, God. In that memory God resurrected from my childhood I was able to get a glimpse of my Heavenly Father’s love, and concern, for me. The same love and concern He has for you too.
When all was said and done, and the tractor was fixed. My dad put me right back in the driver’s seat. Once again I drove the tractor.
“You are a God who does what is right, and you smooth out the path ahead of them.” Isa. 26:7b NLT
God does the same thing with us. He embraces us when we are hurt. He heals our wounds by surveying the damage, and then puts us back in the driver’s seat. He knows the plans for our lives. (Jer. 29:11)
If you’re driving the tractor, watch the wet grass, control your speed, and like me – if you wreck the tractor – immediately go to Him; even if you have tears in your eyes, and all you can say is “I’m sorry daddy. I wrecked your tractor.”
©Gentle Whisper Ministries 2015
*picture by 123rf