God’s Steadfast Love

Tony Campolo is an American sociologist, pastor, author and public speaker. He spoke at the ELCA Youth Gatherings in 1991 and 1994. He shared this story in Dallas at the 1991 gathering:

Tony was flying from Denver to Colorado Springs, a short flight of less than half an hour, but it seemed like eternity.

It began nicely enough, waiting to board the plane and watching a noisy, happy little girl bouncing around, clapping her hands, and chanting, “I’m gonna see Daddy! I’m gonna see Daddy!” His smile began to sag, though. Campolo said that after the first ten minutes, what was once cute began to become irritating and obnoxious. But then they boarded the plane.

Campolo took his seat and to his dismay, the noisy little girl was sitting right across the aisle, continuing to clap her hands and announce to all in a singsong fashion that she was going to see her daddy.

Being a short flight, the flight attendant offered only cookies and drinks, and the little girl took a cookie and a Coke, then another and another. He was amazed how such a little girl could consume so many sweets on that short flight. As the plane approached Colorado Springs, it went through a thunderstorm, which made for a bouncy, rough ride.

We all know that cookies do not smell bad, nor does Coca Cola smell bad. Therefore, it figures that if you mix cookies and Coca Cola in a sweet little girl with a fluffy dress, patent leather shoes and pigtails, what comes out should not smell bad. Such was not the case this time. It wasn’t long before the little girl threw up – it was all over the little girl and all over her mother. Remember those days? But the little girl didn’t miss a beat – she kept on singing her song. “I’m gonna see Daddy!”

Psalm 89:1-4  


I will sing of your steadfast love, O Lord, forever;

    with my mouth I will proclaim your faithfulness to all generations.

I declare that your steadfast love is established forever;

    your faithfulness is as firm as the heavens.

You said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one,

    I have sworn to my servant David:

‘I will establish your descendants forever,

    and build your throne for all generations.’”

“When the airplane finally touched down, I couldn’t wait to get down the aisle and away from the whole smelly mess. As I walked up the connecting corridor and into the airport, I saw a man standing at the end of the walkway, dressed in a white flannel suit, eagerly looking for someone. I just knew who he was, and I lingered behind because I wanted to see the encounter between this elegantly dressed father and the little, smelly girl.

“What happened next really took me by surprise. The little girl came running up to her father and he got down on one knee and swept her into his arms. She was covered with yuck and she smelled very bad, but it didn’t make any difference to him. He had his little girl and that was all that mattered.” 

(Tony Campolo, “A Father’s Blind Love,” in Stories That Feed Your Soul, Gospel Light, 2010)


God’s steadfast love. Even when we are a mess, God still loves us.


Give thanks to God for God’s unconditional love.


Let us pray:

Almighty God, you are love, and all you do is out of love for those you created IN love TO love. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Leave a Reply