On My Way Home
I must have read the story of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32) to my children a million times over the span of their childhood. I am not going to proclaim it was their favorite or even mine. But it was a good story that related to others and not me because in those days I was on fire for God and there was no way that I could or would ever become a prodigal son.
Unfortunately I labeled others who I saw seemingly leaving Gods will, forsake their calling, burying their talents etc.
See the problem was this, I never really met a real live contemporary prodigal.
I mean, no believer goes out one day and says, ‘that’s it I am going to be a prodigal son.’
I know this because, well, hmm, oh God help me say this, ok do it….I became a prodigal son myself.
Let me explain.
After many years of service for the Lord and working with my christian community I decided it was time for a change. I needed a fresh perspective on my faith and God’s call in my life. I left the church and that was a good thing, it was a good decision and I never regretted that.
The problem was that in my desire to start over and clean house and I decided to get rid of all the stuff I had gathered over the years such as beliefs, doctrines, habits, teachings that I felt were no longer relevant. I wanted a new fresh beginning.
My mistake was that I threw the baby out with the bath water.
What I really wanted was to do it my way and God was not in the mix.
So off I went to do my own thing and lo and behold I got so far away from home (God) and took such a battering that I realized that hey, wait a minute. I’m just like that guy in the story of the Prodigal son. I am the prodigal son.
It took me 13 to wake up to this. That is travelling a long way from home. So when I decided it was time to make my way back I became aware of that bible story that I so proudly proclaimed to my kids that dad would never be like that. He loved Jesus too much.
The story itself is pretty self-explanatory. The son wants to leave and experience life on his own. His ever faithful brother stays with dad. The prodigal uses all his inheritance on riotous living.
A famine in the land is the last straw when the pigs have more to eat than he does. Home is not looking to bad, he will go back and be like one of the servants if his dad will have him.
He goes back, dad sees him from afar, runs out greets him, forgives the son, has a big party, the stay at home son is mad, the father teaches the older son how important compassion is and that we must always forgive the wayward if they want to come home.
When I realized where I ended up and decided to make my way back to the father’s house with my tail between my legs I became aware of a part of the story that I had never really thought about too much and can’t remember if I had ever heard about in any of the sermons or interpretations I came across in all my years of hearing the story.
The prodigals journey back home. There is not a whole lot said about that.
In the original story the prodigal winds up in a far country. In those days a far country was a long way from home and it must have taken quit some time to get there even with all the money he had to burn.
How long would it take for him to get back and since there was a famine in the land, he was half starving, his physical presence in tatters and weak from lack of food and no money to catch a plane or take a bus. I think it took him a very long time to find his way back and for good reason.
It was probably a good time to get things right in his mind, heart and soul.
My journey back home has not been an easy one either but it has been exactly what I needed.
I can see the father now, way up ahead and I can feel him coming closer toward me. Jesus is still right by my side me with his arm around my shoulder and I can feel the smile on his face as we prepare for a new start together when I finally get home.
I don’t know what the future holds for me but I do know Who holds the future.
Do I wish that I never became a prodigal? Of course. But I wouldn’t trade my experience for anything. It has become part of my testimony.
So if you have come to the realization that you have become a prodigal, have no fear. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and go back home. Your father is waiting and Jesus will walk with you.