Below the fold: The dad instinctSeptember 13, 2016
When Derek Graham, a state trooper in West Virginia, pulled over an intoxicated driver late that Tuesday evening, he did not expect to see a young child in the backseat, covered head-to-toe in vomit and feces. He described it as “the most disgusting thing I’ve seen thus far in my law enforcement career involving a child, especially an infant.”
After placing the woman under arrest, Trooper Graham brought the baby back to the state police barracks— an unlikely place for a baby. But he gave the baby a bath in the sink, comforted and calmed him. Graham shared, “It was almost just my dad instinct popped into play…Forget state trooper, forget law enforcement officer. It was dad that took over, said ‘I gotta clean this little guy up.’ ”
Reading this, I was reminded how you and I get covered up in the most vile of things. Sin covers us.
The instinct the Trooper had as a dad— it reflects the Father’s heart. The story of this baby cuts us to the heart because we know that he cannot help himself. He could not do for himself what this Trooper, from the heart of a father, did for him.
The heart of the Father God sees our circumstance and His heart breaks over our sin.
The heart of the Father, even though we are covered in the most vile of things, knows we cannot clean ourselves up and in compassion moves toward us, filthy and helpless.
The heart of the Father does everything necessary to rescue us from the mess of sin.
This story of the Trooper and the little baby reminded me of another story from earlier this year. A college student, dazed on drugs and attempting to escape the police, jumped into a the hopper of a trash truck— that’s right, the part where our trash sits. It is disgusting, lined with who knows what. It took four cops to get the student out, and even then, he was kicking and fighting them the entire way. He was covered with the foul liquid that accumulates in the bowels of a garbage truck.
Here is the difference between the innocent baby and our sinfulness: we cover ourselves in the vileness of sin. We are not innocent, but instead, we willfully rebel against God in favor of our own trash.
In the end, however, we are just as helpless. We cannot clean ourselves, no matter how hard we try. We need a Savior, with the heart of the Father, to do what we cannot and rescue us.
We read in Psalm 51:
Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin!
The power of sin is real and so is the penalty, death. Jesus Christ takes care of both of those. He cleans us of guilt and shame in this temporary existence and provides freedom in eternal life with Him.
This is not temporary and it is not limited to just some of our vileness. Jesus came to thoroughly clean us. There is no part in our lives Jesus Christ leaves unwashed and unredeemed.
The Father takes us in His arms, extended in Christ upon the cross, and in compassion, washes it all away. I hope you have a testimony like this— to come into relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.
We may be dirty and helpless, but we can trust the heart of the Father. He desires to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.