Monday, October 17, 2016
Long way gone
The book: Long Way Gone by Charles Martin. The plot: it is a "radical retelling of the story of the prodigal son".
The whole book was good....no doubt there.... but the climax of the book, and then the author's note at the back about the prodigal son..... I was crying so hard I could hardly see the words.
I've been a prodigal for too much of my life. Time after time, I'd give up on God and walk away..... at least inwardly. And time after time He would forgive me, knowing I'd give up and walk away again, knowing I was only trying to serve Him out of guilt and out of the fear of going to hell.
Thankfully, finally believing how much this God of mine truly does love me - or at least getting a little bit of an idea - led to me finally getting a relationship with Him. I still let him down. I yell at other drivers - in my car, not to them - have thoughts I shouldn't have, am too shallow, and never measure up to what I think I should be.
And yet He loves me. He is the Father who is always watching and waiting for us to return when we stray. He is the shepherd crawling down the cliff to rescue that one lost sheep. He is the merciful compassionate Savior forgiving us again for the umpteenth time, yet not keeping track of how many times we have begged His forgiveness for that same thing.
I'll never comprehend His love... none of us will. Oh, we will have moments like I am having tonight when the realization of His love washes over us like a flood, bringing thankfulness, awe, humility, and tears..... lots of tears.
As someone said, the story of the prodigal son isn't really about the son, but the Father. How many days did the Father stand watching for his son to return? He didn't just happen to be watching that one day, but had been watching for days, weeks, months, and years......and He didn't stand there with His arms crossed waiting for His son to grovel. but ran to meet Him and forgave him before the son could even say the words.
And then He threw Him a party. Our God doesn't want groveling. He doesn't let us wallow in self incrimination while He watches with smugness and self satisfaction.
He loves us too much. No matter how far we go, how long we are gone, we are never too long gone for His love.
I am so thankful He never gave up on this prodigal, and loves me no matter what I did, or how far I went.