A Prodigal Constraint

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by Stephanie H

My dearest, most beloved son whom I have forgiven,

Please do me the kindness of reading this letter through to its end.  Do not be afraid of the words I have written in it.  Do not be afraid of what I will think of you for having read them.  I love you, my son.  It is a fact that will never change.  You are as dear to me as a son now as you were when you were born, when you left home, and when you returned.  I welcomed you with all that I have.  Do you still not believe it?

The first days after your return, there was joy and peace over your entire face like sunshine.  What crept into you after that?  You grew quiet when I would enter the room.  I would hear you as you told your brother of the time we had spent together, but you held your tongue whenever I joined you, and refused to meet my eyes.  When I ask, you tell me everything is fine.  You made excuses then, now you only mumble.  I am not blaming you.  My dear son, you have not failed me.  I see your fear at what I might say, but how can I comfort you if you will not let me in?

You know that I found your ring back in the chest where I used to keep it.  I wish that you would keep it.  I gave it to you as a reminder of my love.  Have you forgotten?  I love you, my son.  Yes, you are my son.  That will never change.  You could not hide it when you stopped wearing the robes that I gave you.  Do you mean to prove that I have not loved you after all?  You cannot convince me that you are too much a failure that I cannot love you.  I will always love you.  If scrubbing the floor instead of eating at my table, mucking the stall instead of riding your donkey, and sleeping on the floor instead of your bed are not enough to prove your humility, will you run away from home again?  I cannot help you if you force me away.

How could I not see your earring?  Would you declare your loyalty to me as a slave when I have offered to you my heart and everything that I own?  Oh, how it grieves me!  You know as well as your brother the number of servants in my pay.  Shall I lose a son that I would gain a stable boy?  The work I taught you when you were young was so that we could be father and son together.  Every task I desire is done at the snap of my fingers, if that were what I desired.  I desire your love infinitely more than your gestures of humiliation.  My son, I love you.  Why will you not spend time with me?

What will it cost to prove to yourself that you have repaid me?  Do you count the hours you have worked as wages with which you could replace what you lost in your days of sin?  Do the tears that you hide come when you weigh yourself against a vanished fortune and find yourself wanting?  It is true, the loss was great.  Beloved son, I forgave you that debt.  Even if it were small enough to be repaid, would I choose to gain back a few tarnished coins rather than receive the son of my own blood?  I have made the way for you to return to me.  Do not weep to think that your hard labors are your only hope for salvation.  You would see it if only you would come into the light.

There are so many things that I have wanted to share with you these past years.  The joyful hours we were meant to spend together while you were lost, now again waiting for you while you work yourself to exhaustion.  If you will come with me, they are still waiting for us.  It is not too late.  I have asked your brother and sisters to tell you the same.  You still speak to them, but they have yet to convince you.  Have you not seen how I have forgiven them their faults?  Why should you be any less precious to me, my beloved son?  I received you with open arms when you returned to my house.  Will you forever shy away from my heart?  Please, come home to me.

I love you eternally,

~Abba

Dear Wandering, Weary Pilgrim — Come In!

Railroad

 

I’ve seen you — I see you often. You smile, but there’s more hurt and confusion behind that smile than anyone could ever know. More tears cried when you were alone than you’d ever admit to. More aches in the recesses of your heart than anyone could understand — probably why you’ve chosen to push them aside…to numb the pain.

It seems I am often sitting in my room, weeping for you these days. It’s because I love you. And, more than that…it’s because I know how much *I* love you, and yet…I know that God loves you infinitely more than I ever could. He has a boundless ocean of love that He longs to pour out upon you! He longs to take you in His arms. To hold you, and hold you, and never let go. To cry out for joy, through His own tears, that His prodigal, His beloved one, has come home! Oh, how I wish I could convey to you the deepness of the ache that is in my heart — HIS heart — for you! The ache of a parent, longing for their child to come home! Longing that their child would even just let them love.

I know you are hurt. And confused. You’ve had your heart broken too many times. You’ve been confused — jaded by what people say is right, and the difference of what you’ve seen. So many lies. So much hypocrisy. So much confusion. So many different opinions. And you’ve decided that it’s too complicated. It’s fake. It was always fake. It doesn’t matter, because you’re just too tired and hurting to try to fight against the opposition any more.
It might not all be true…but it’s reality to your heart…and the pain is real. So very real.

Oh, but Dear Wandering, Weary Pilgrim, please do not close your heart off, and barricade it up. Love is real. It is true. HE is true. No matter what people think or do or say, Love does not change. He stays the same…and His arms are always outstretched.

JUST VISITING

I’ve seen you standing at the door; balancing on the threshold. You gazed long through the open door of faith…and yet…you knew what lay within…and it had already hurt you. The silky-sweet strains of Vanity Fair beckoned you down, out of the doorway. They promised fulfillment, and pleasure, and fun filled indulgence — as much as you could ever want! They promised sunshine upon your face, and constant companionship and acclaim and everything your heart desires. Except…you must close the door to Love. In fact, you must build a high wall, and never let anything — or anyone — near who even resembles True Love. And yet…as you’ve followed after the alluring strains of Vanity…you’ve found that everywhere you look, you are still secretly hoping Love will be there. Perhaps hiding behind the racks of glitter and silk. But no, Dear One…He will not be found there. You will spend your life searching for Love. But you already know where He is found.

He is found back at the Door. That place where you made the last choice, and determined that you would barricade your heart. The place you decided that you couldn’t handle being confused and hurt again, by those sinful mankind who are falteringly trying to follow Love…oh so falteringly. The place when you let the glitter of the world drown out the whirling thoughts and emotions…numbing your heart to the ache. He is there. He is waiting. He is daily on His knees, pleading with His Father to keep you safe and to bring you back home. I know because He has me daily by His side, doing the same for you, with Him. Weeping because I miss you. Because I see your hurt and pain. Because I KNOW Love. And I know HE is not like you think; He is so unlike us sinful humans — even those of us who want to be like Him. Don’t turn from Him because of us. Don’t harden your heart to Love! Don’t let Vanity steal the life you could have with Him. And don’t…PLEASE don’t let the devil tell you it’s too late!

It is NEVER too late. It is never too late to go back to the Door. It is never too late to let yourself be broken again. It is never too late to apologize for the things you did…and to take hold of a brand new heart – again! You can, for Love has no limits. Nowhere is it said, “You may only have one new heart, and if you turn away from the Lord, you can’t ever be new again.” NO! Jesus freely gives NEW hearts to all who ask. To all who humbly repent. To all who turn back. It is never too late to say, “Father! I am sick of the vanities of this world, and the garbage they give me in return for my life! Please — take me back! Even to be a servant in Your house is better than partaking in the best things this world can offer!”

And though the devil whispers, “You will surely be rejected.” Jesus — Love Himself — will kneel beside you…and embrace you. He will weep, and weep, and rejoice through His tears…O, His dear one…His beloved child has come home! There is no joy in this world that can compare. There is nothing as beautiful as the prodigal child, having tasted of the world, returning home because nothing can compare to the Love that was there.

Dear Wandering, Weary Pilgrim…even if there is no one in this whole world that you can trust……trust Jesus. His Words are true…and He will never forsake you.

Dear Wandering, Weary Pilgrim…come in!

Hug sunset

“I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.” (Luke 15:18-24 ESV)