Kara taught her big sister, Ally, a Bible lesson while the little Singer hummed. A Bible lesson on Jonah, taught by the one who loves to lecture and is always thankful for an audience.
Kara caught me in the bedroom beforehand, needing a little clarity. "How does that song from the Jonah movie go?" We had just watched Jonah the other night. You can sing it if you've seen the movie: compassion and mercy.
"What does mercy mean?" I ask Kara. "A second chance," she shoots back. "God forgives us and gives us a second chance." "What if I mess up again? And again? And again?" I'm pushing her, pushing her, pushing her. "You know I will because God wants me to be perfect and I'm just going to keep messing up. What then?"
We volley ideas back and forth, until I see the look of uncertainty on her face. Desperation. That look is just what I was waiting to see. We have a problem, a sin problem. An infinite number of "chances" won't make us right with God.
Kara could perfectly echo the message of Veggie Tales Jonah. But subtly, ever so subtly, the message of Jonah isn't enough. Phil Vischer knows. He gave an interview to World Magazine and said, "I looked back at the previous 10 years and realized I had spent 10 years trying to convince kids to behave Christianly without actually teaching them Christianity. And that was a pretty serious conviction. You can say, "Hey kids, be more forgiving because the Bible says so," or "Hey kids, be more kind because the Bible says so!" But that isn't Christianity, it's morality." (World Magazine, September 24, 2011)
I have a problem. I believe in a God of impossibly high standards. But my God of impossible holiness is also a God of impossible grace. He doesn't give me a second chance to get it right, He makes me right in Christ. He gives mercy then pours on grace. Impossible grace.
When I sin again and again and again, I need Christ.
I need Christ again and again and again.