Mothers for Prodigals

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Father at the Fence

A man and his wife lived a good life in a quiet neighborhood with their two sons. The younger one couldn’t wait to move away and live life on his own; he had big plans. He went to his dad and said, “Hey Dad, I need my share of the family’s money. I’d like to move into the city.” 

The father hesitated for a moment, but decided to grant his son the opportunity to live apart from the family. As the son packed his belongings and money into his car, the father said, “Please keep in touch, okay.”

“Sure, Dad, I’ll call from time to time,” the son said as he drove away, thinking of the freedom he was about to enjoy. “No more parents looking over my shoulder,” he said out loud. “I can do whatever I want, whenever I want,” he yelled as he drove faster into the city. 

His two friends were waiting on him. He moved into their apartment and a couple days later, he found a job waiting tables at a restaurant. His earnings would help pay the rent. He called his dad, telling him that he had a job, a place to stay, and all was well. Soon he became distracted by all the sights and sounds of the city, making new friends and partying every night. He began spending his money wildly and giving into the temptations of drugs, alcohol, and women. The more “fun” he had, the more he wanted. The “fun” consumed him and he repeatedly forgot to call home. 

Meanwhile back in the quiet neighborhood his parents began to worry, having not heard from their son in months. Every time fear began to consume them, the man grabbed his wife’s hand and prayed. Each time after prayer, the peace of God invaded their spirits and they rested in God’s mercy. They held onto the hope of a loving and forgiving God who restores. Waiting for their son to come home wasn’t easy, but they truly believed he would return soon. They looked forward to welcoming him back into their lives. 

Meanwhile the months turned into a year and the “fun” turned into a nightmare. When the young man wasn’t high on drugs or drunk from booze, he was absolutely miserable. His body ached and his mind played dreadful tricks on him. Because he had lost his job, his roommates took all his belongings as payment for his portion of the rent. He had nothing.

One night after a drunken brawl, he ran for his life. He lost track of time and his whereabouts. Finding an empty alleyway, he sprawled out on a trash heap and went to sleep. When he awoke to the light of day, fear rose up inside of him. He realized that all of his so-called friends had long deserted him. Even his roommates had given up on him. Misery and devastation engulfed him as he stared at the nastiness surrounding him. Depression set in when he grasped the severity of his situation. “I am alone and penniless,” he said. “Nobody in this city cares about me. Why am I here? I ran from a family that loved me because I wanted to be free from authority, but now I am trapped in a life of nothingness. What am I going to do?” 

Eventually the young man picked himself up and slowly found his way into the city streets. He soon located a store and asked to use their phone. Timidly he dialed the number to his parents’ house, wondering what to say. His dad answered. “Hello,” he said. 

“Dad,” the young man said hesitantly. 

“Son, is that you? Where are you? Are you okay?” asked the father.

“Dad, I want to come home. I’ve made a mess of my life. I’m so sorry. Will you forgive me? Do you still love me?” the son asked. 

“Of course I’ll forgive you and I’ve always loved you. Just tell me where you are and I’ll be there as soon as I can,” answered the father. “Your mother and I have been waiting a long time for you to come home. Oh what a celebration we’re going to have tonight.”

This story is my version of the prodigal son. Before moving on, let’s read Jesus’ rendering of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-24 (NASB). 

And He said, “A man had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate that falls to me.’ So he divided his wealth between them. And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a distant country, and there he squandered his estate with loose living. Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred in that country, and he began to be impoverished. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would have gladly filled his stomach with the pods that the swine were eating, and no one was giving anything to him. But when he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.”’ So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’ And they began to celebrate.
What a wonderful celebration it must have been! Both father and son experienced much pain beforehand. The son chose a lifestyle that eventually brought him despair and wretchedness. His choice inflicted sorrow and heartache onto his father, but the father never gave up. He probably daily walked to his property line and waited anxiously at his fence. He continued to hope for his son's return and his arms longed for the hugs that would follow. The love he had for his son would forgive and forget all sins. They could begin life anew and wipe the slate clean. 

Life is full of problems. Sometimes we choose them and other times they’re imposed upon us. It doesn’t matter how far away we’ve run or how worthless we’ve become, hope is not lost. When we come to our senses and repent of our sins, God the Father is waiting for us at the fence with open and loving arms of mercy and grace. 

Prodigals, turn from your rebellious ways of sin and shame and run towards the Father. Tear down that fence and jump into His waiting arms. He’s got enough love to cover over all of your past mistakes. He’s waiting to clean you up and restore you to a brand new life with Him. He loves you!

To the Lord our God belong compassion and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against Him..... Daniel 9:9 (NASB)
Jesus said, “.....for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.” Matthew 26:28 (NASB) open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me. Acts 26:18 (NASB)
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace. Ephesians 1:7 (NASB)
May this be our prayer: Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.  Psalm 139:23-24 (NASB)  AMEN!

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