There was once a dad who had a three-year-old son named Brandon. One day, Brandon saw his dad eating cookies in the living room, and he said to himself, “Daddy loves cookies with milk. So I’m going to give Daddy a glass of milk.” With that thought, Brandon went into the dining room and dragged a chair from the dining room into the kitchen, leaving a trail of scratch marks on the floor.
Brandon climbed up on the chair and hitched himself onto the counter to pull at the cabinet door. Wham! It smashed against the adjacent cabinet door, leaving a gash where the handle hit it. Brandon reached for a glass, accidentally knocking two others off the shelf. Crash! Tinkle, tinkle! But Brandon did not care. He was thinking, “I’m going to get Daddy some milk!”
Meanwhile, Brandon’s dad was watching all this, wondering if he should step in and save the rest of his kitchen. He decided, for the moment, to watch a little more as Brandon scrambled off the chair, dodged the pieces of broken glass, and headed for the refrigerator.
Pulling violently on the refrigerator door, Brandon flung it wide open—and it stayed open, of course. Brandon put the glass on the floor—out of harm’s way, supposedly—and grabbed, not the little half-gallon of milk, but the big gallon container that was full of milk. He ripped open the top, poured it in the vicinity of the glass, and even managed to get some milk in the glass. The rest went all over the floor.
Finally done, Brandon put the milk carton on the floor and picked up the glass, yelling, “Daddy, I got something for you!” He ran into the living room, tripped, and spilled milk all over the place—the floor, the sofa, his dad.
Brandon stood up and looked around. He saw the broken glass, milk everywhere, cabinets open, his dad with milk from his eyebrows to his toes, and started to cry. Through his tears, he looked up at his dad with that pained expression that says, “What are you going to do to me?”
His dad only smiled. He did not see a kid that just destroyed his house. Instead he saw a beautiful little boy whom he loved very much. It did not matter what he had done. Brandon’s dad stretched his arms out to hold his little boy tight and said, “This is my son!”
When we talk about God as our Father, the kind of father we are talking about is Brandon’s father. God is a father who loves us unconditionally, even though we make a real mess of things. Jesus told a similar story about another son who messed up. We call the story “The Prodigal Son.” It also could be called “The Parable of the Loving Father,” because just like Brandon’s dad, the father in the story threw his arms around his son and said, “This is my son!” Ask your mom or dad to read the story about the prodigal son to you from the Bible. (See Luke 15:11–32.)