I wanted to mow the lawn. I know that's not something Dad really likes doing and I had the time to do it. Out I went to the garage and started up the old riding mower. Thankfully, it was functional and full of gas. I hopped on and started riding around the lawn. Perhaps I was being careless or just miscalculated the space I needed to give so I wouldn't run over a rock that was a bit out of line from the border of the rock garden. All I know is I ran over a rock, it sounded very unpleasant, and I think I chipped some of the rock away -- and broke the lawn mower. To my dismay, the blade deck started clacking like crazy. I parked the riding mower in the garage and used the push mower to get as much done before dusk as I could. When Dad returned that evening, I sheepishly told him what I had done. He shrugged and said that it was fine and that we could fix it. The next morning, with a new blade in hand, he invited me to help him fix it. Thankful for the opportunity to help right what I had broken, I quickly threw on my tennis shoes and and followed him. However, when we went to the garage, he went to the push mower to replace that one's blade. Hesitantly, I explained that it was the riding mower, not the push mower, that I had broken. “Well,” he responded, “the blade on this one is broken too, so we'll fix this and then take a look at the other one.” So we did. Sure enough, that blade was pretty bent out of shape and one end was broken off. Then we looked at the other mower. We pulled the blade deck off and examined it. Thankfully, the clacking of the blades was just caused by them being loose on one side. But there were several more things that needed to be fixed or changed: new belts and welding to patch the blade deck cover. It turned into a two day project to get it all done. I only helped with tightening the blades and a bit with the belts. But it set me to thinking. I had set out to help Dad and ended up making more work for him. Yet, without getting upset or disgruntled, Dad set about fixing what I broke, inviting me to help him get it done. On top of fixing just what I broke, we discovered additional things that needed work. And Dad invited me to help fix these things that I needed could never have done on my own.
The more I thought about this, the more I realized that it was a wonderful example of how God is with His children. We set out, following his example, and trying to “help” him, to participate in the work he wants done in this world (just like I was trying to take part in the work that Dad does for our family). Sometimes, even when we do some good (I did get the front yard mown before breaking the mower), we often -- maybe always -- mess something up. We are forgetful and make mistakes that may make more work than the original task was. Yet, somehow, with incredible graciousness, God uses those failures as opportunities to work good. Not only does He fix the mess we made, He often fixes things we never knew were broken -- and invites us to participate in that restoring work as well! What graciousness and love that is, to allow us to work and mess things up and participate in the restoration of more than we ever realized or thought possible! And what a blessing to have a father who shows me with his life how God is with us! Thank you, God, and thank you, Dad! Happy Father's Day!