The other day, my son and I were looking for costume parts in a second-hand store. As I was rummaging through racks of clothing, he began asking if he could buy a used toy. Being the germ-a-phobe I am, I initially tried to defer his attention from buying a toy there. I tried to explain to him those toys were dirty and likely wouldn’t work well. I even told him I would get him a new and shiny toy at one of the other stores we were going to that day (The Dollar Tree), but he persisted.
As we continued walking through the store, we walked past the room filled with kids’ toys. At first, I led him away from it without letting him know it was there. But later as he was waiting patiently by my side, I decided I would take him back and let him find a dirty, old toy.
So I led him back to the toy room lined with wooden bins filled with all sizes and shapes of toys. Something about it was depressing as I looked at hundreds of toys all disheveled and piled on top of one another. It reminded me of Toy Story because I knew that at some point they had likely been some little kid’s prized possession and now they looked like they were living in a toy graveyard.
But my son didn’t seem to notice. He was excitedly digging through the piles of toys as if we were at Toys R’ Us. As I watched him dig, I immediately felt the need to bathe in hand sanitizer but resisted the urge. I continued to discourage him saying, “Sweetie why don’t we just leave and find something somewhere else? These toys are icky.” But he didn’t seem to hear me. He just kept digging.
After about five minutes, he found a semitruck on the floor. As soon as he laid eyes on it, it was love at first sight. “Can I have this one, Mommy? Puhlease???” I must have said yes in some unenthusiastic, knock-yourself-out kind of way because the store worker chuckled at my response. But again, he didn’t notice, he just beamed with pride as he carried this nasty thing to the check out.
While I’m envisioning all the places this has been, all the snot and spit and poop that is likely on it (hey, I’ve watched firsthand what my kids do to their toys), he looked like he had just won the Superbowl. He kept saying over and over, ‘Thank you, Mommy for letting me get this toy. I love it.” All the while I was feeling grossed out by it.
So we get it home and I thoroughly go all germaphobe on the truck’s bootie and when I sufficiently feel like it is cleaned, I let him go crazy with it. He takes it back to his room and discovers it is a micromachine toy from the ’80s. He runs out of the room and yells for me to come and see what his new toy does. “Isn’t it so cool, Mommy??! Look, it turns into a track.”
“Yeah, babe. It’s great. I am glad you found that toy.” At the same time I’m saying this, I am noticing all the parts have come disconnected and that it is missing the cars that go in it, but I don’t say anything.
A few minutes later, he comes out of his room and asks me if I can reconnect it for him. I walk back to the room and put it back together. Five minutes later, he calls out to his Dad for help. His Dad does the same thing. Then me again. Then his Dad. Then me…you get the idea.
At which point, his Dad and I tell him, “Son, the toy isn’t really working very well. It’s broken. It’s not going to stay together.”
But he won’t give up on it insisting it still works well. At this point, his brother starts showing great interest in it too. And so a battle over the toy begins to ensue.
Our oldest sons begins asking his brother not to hurt the toy even though I keep telling him there is really nothing he could do to hurt it. After while, our oldest hides it in our bathroom telling me, “I have to keep it in there to protect it. Brother might break it.”
By the end of the day, my husband and I look at each other and say, “We are going to have to get rid of that broken toy. I don’t have the patience to fix it over and over again.” But then we decide he will probably lose interest after he has it for awhile.
However, the next morning he wakes up and looks at me and says, “Mommy, you need to be careful with my toy. It is very expensive.” And I just laugh knowing it cost maybe 25 cents. But he looks at me with all seriousness again and says, “Mommy, be careful. My toy is very, very expensive,” which of course made me want to tackle him then kiss him because of his love for this blessed, broken toy.
So here’s my question for you.
Do you feel like the broken toy?
Do you feel like you have messed your life? Do you feel broken? Rejected? Like it is too late to be recovered? No one would want you? Have you spent too much money? Hurt too many people? Lived without God for too many years? Is there some reason you are just too beyond repair?
Here’s another question.
Do you feel like God feels for you the way I was acting about the toy?
Disgusted by it (you)? Grossed out by it (you)? Given up on it (you)? Aware of its (your) incredibly obvious flaws? Ready to throw it (you)out?
Well, let me let you in on a little secret that might brighten your day. God is not finicky like we are. He isn’t concerned with germs or mistakes or flaws. He doesn’t use his mood to decide if you are good enough.
In fact, Isaac’s mindset toward this second-hand toy is a lot more like God’s feelings toward you.
No matter what you’ve done or where you’ve been, you are worth digging out of the pile. With His love, you look new and clean. Your flaws don’t make you unlovable, they just make you, YOU.
Some truths to simmer on…
“This toy is very expensive.” No matter what you’ve done, you are of high value to God.
“I am going to hide this toy so my little brother can’t hurt it.” God never wants any bad to come of you.
“This toy isn’t broken.” God doesn’t see you as broken beyond repair. He sees you as his creation.
“I love it.” God loves you.
You see, for my son, there is plenty of room for this broken toy in his closet.
And in the words of my dear pastor Rev. Jimmy Taylor…
For God, there is plenty of room for you at the foot of the cross. And he can and will dig you out of any pile of toys.
“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.” Luke 15: 22-24