There were just a few quick, angry words spoken before the door was slammed shut. All that remained after the heated argument was shattered glass. The angry teen was on the run again. Being kicked off of the school’s football team was the last straw. His prideful and strong image had been diminished by the school’s principal. He had been caught with drugs in his locker. Between bouts of uncontrolled anger and the deep depression that had set in, he just couldn’t take it anymore. With overwhelming hoplessness and despair, he stopped by his house to grab a few personal items. He quickly stuffed everything he could into the large tote that he flung over his shoulder. He told his dad he wanted to be treated like an adult and he didn’t want his parents in his business.
As his father knelt down to pick up the broken glass, his lips quivering, and fists clenched, he prayed half in anger and half in desperation, “Lord, help that boy!”
Jason, the tall thin lad was only seventeen years old. He had always been headstrong since he had been a young child. He wanted to see the world and to come and go as he pleased. He hitchhiked across the country. When he couldn’t find a ride, he walked from one town to the next. He landed jobs in different night clubs to earn a few bucks. Once he made enough money, he went on to another town. He picked up girls in every town. After awhile, he quit working altogether. He lived for the next party, night after night.
Meanwhile, before going to bed each night, his mom and dad touched the floor with their knees, and amidst salty tears, cried out to God, “Please keep Jason safe and bring him home!”
One morning Jason woke up, his clothes covered with the stench of stale cigarette smoke, and his gut empty. It had been almost a week without food. He had run out of money. He was too weak to hold down a job. He could almost smell his mom’s eggs frying and the trail of the bacon that used to wake him up most mornings. For the first time, he was sober enough to experience a homesickness that cut to the very depths of his soul. He began to experience the nagging thought that maybe he had made a terrible mistake. He began to yearn for the familiarities of home and family. He also missed his friends and his dog. Come to think of it, next week would be his eighteenth birthday. “Maybe, ” he thought to himself, and quickly dismissed the thought with “Yeah right, my parents would never even let me come back home, let alone throw me an Eighteen year birthday party!”
It was a quiet fall morning. The air had that certain chill in it when Jason’s dad stepped outside to get the morning paper. Maggie, the family dog, started to bark as Jason’s dad heard a strange but familiar sound of leaves rustling, and then he heard footsteps coming down the narrow lane. “Could it be? Could it really be Jason coming home at last? Had his patience and perseverance paid off and had God heard his desperate plea to bring his son home again?”
With a feeling of excitement that no mortal words could fathom, but that cut into the very core of his soul, he didn’t have to think twice. He ran as fast as his legs could take him, and with heart abandoned, he grabbed the boy, embraced him tightly and kissed both sides of his face with the love that only a father could comprehend! As he spun him around, with tears, mingled with shouts of joy, he shouted in his loudest voice for all the neighbors to hear, “We are throwing the biggest party this neighborhood has ever known! For my son was lost, but now he has come home!”
Jason looked at his dad, sheepishly, ashamed to admit the guilt that he was carrying and the shame he had brought home to his parents. “Dad, there’s something I have to tell you. I spent all of my money and I have done some horrible things that I’m not proud of.” Before Jason could even get the first word out, hid dad said, “None of that matters anymore, my son, for once you were dead, but now you are alive!”
This is a modern day version of the Prodigal Son. Jason could be your child or the neighbor down the street, or perhaps, Jason is you. This is for all the Jasons out there. Jason’s dad depicts the love of our heavenly Father. There is nothing you could ever do to keep God from loving you. He is waiting for you with arms open wide to embrace you and accept you back into his loving graces where there is an abundance of hope, love, forgiveness, joy, peace, provision and protection.
Nothing could ever get in the way of God’s love for you. Not even your own stubborn willfullness and pride.
Are you homesick today? Home is a sense of belonging. It is family, where life begins and love never ends. Home is among the holiest of words. It is our own private sanctuary; a resting place from the cares of the world. It is a place to gather new strength and characters are molded. Home is peace. It Is where love wins out. There’s no place anywhere like home, where you can see the people you love that love you back. They are waiting for you.
TURN YOUR HEART TOWARDS HOME!