The Bird Clock: A Lesson in Grace

by Chip Brogden
“My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” – 2 Cor. 12:9
When my older daughter was just a little girl (maybe 7 or 8 years old) she saved her money and bought a clock for her bedroom.

This clock was very unique!

Around the face of the clock, at each number, was decorated with a particular bird that would chirp its distinctive call at the top of the hour.

She was so proud of that clock!

And we were proud that she was able to buy it all by herself using her own hard-earned money.

That was quite an accomplishment for a little kid.

That night she hung it on the wall over her bed all by herself and we admired it.

Afterwards we sat down at the table to eat dinner.

Everything was going great!

Everyone was happy!

That’s when we heard it…


What was that?!?

My daughter jumped up from the table and ran to her bedroom.

I followed…

And when I walked into her room what I saw broke my heart.

She was sitting on the edge of her bed, face buried in her hands, quietly sobbing, her little shoulders shaking up and down.

Laying in her lap was her precious bird clock, broken.

Somehow it had slipped off the nail, fell behind her bed, hit the floor, and shattered.

I sat down on the bed next to her and put my arm around her.

“Don’t worry!” I said. “We’ll get you another bird clock.”

She looked up at me, tears streaming down her face.

“But Daddy! I don’t have any more money!” she cried.

Being a child, she couldn’t realize that, in that moment, her Daddy was perfectly willing to buy her not just a bird clock to replace the one that broke, but a hundred bird clocks – yes, and anything else she wanted and needed!

This experience helped me to better understand and explain how our Father must look at us.

We work soooo hard to be good, to do the right thing, to be obedient, to follow what we think is God’s Will for our life

Sometimes we get it right, and it makes us feel really warm and happy inside – that maybe, finally, we have accomplished something and things are on the right track.

But often, in spite of our best efforts, we mess up.

Or, through no fault of our own, things just happen.

We look at ourselves and realize we have no money, no strength, no wisdom, nothing in ourselves.

We can’t change the past.

We can’t fix what’s been broken.

And as we sit there in tears, holding the shattered pieces of a broken marriage, a broken home, our broken health, our broken hopes and dreams, we think all is lost.

Here’s something you need to know:

God’s grace is greater than your sin.

God’s grace is greater than your mistakes.

God’s grace is greater than your failures.

God’s grace is greater than your frustrations.

So many think of God as being too holy and harsh to ever be pleased with us, requiring more from our broken hearts than we give.

When I offered a to replace the broken clock, my child immediately assumed that I was telling her to go out and do something she knew couldn’t do.

“But Daddy! I don’t have any more money!”

“But Daddy! I don’t have any more strength!”

“But Daddy! I don’t have any more hope!”

Yet we think if we pray more, fast longer, read more Bible verses, we will somehow prove ourselves worthy of God’s grace and forgiveness.

We’re looking at what we have or don’t have, what we can or can’t do, what we should or shouldn’t have done, instead of resting in what God already has and what God has already done.

How does He see your situation?

Of course, His heart is broken as well.

If it hurts you then it hurts Him, too.

Blaming Him will only make that hurt worse.


Your Father is perfectly willing to repair, replace, renovate, revive, or restore your broken heart.

So just let Him do it.

You cannot undo the past.

You cannot erase the memories.

You cannot change other people.

But God is able, somehow, to make YOU whole again.

And when He does, He doesn’t blame.

He doesn’t scold.

He doesn’t lecture.

He doesn’t say, “You broke it, so you fix it.”

He says, “Let’s get you another bird clock!”

You don’t have to beg and plead.

You don’t have to work for it.

You don’t have to pay God back.

You don’t have to bargain.

All you have to do is receive His grace.

Take a deep breath and start over.

Stop trying to fix everything yourself and trust Him to do what only He can do anyway.

Today, my little girl is a college graduate. Has a management job. Has her own apartment.

And there, prominently displayed on the wall amongst the family photos, is the bird clock.

Still chirping every hour on the hour.

A perpetual reminder of love, mercy, and amazing grace.

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About the Author

CHIP BROGDEN is a best-selling author, teacher, and former pastor. His writings and teachings reach more than 135 nations with a simple, consistent, Christ-centered message focusing on relationship, not religion. Learn more »