Essays on Faith: God waits for his children to come home

Prince Harry has packed up Meghan and Archie and gone to a “distant country,” but he’s not the first son to turn away from his family. Jesus told a story very similar to this modern day dilemma right down to the younger brother turning his back on the older sibling.

“There was once a man who had two sons. The younger said to his father, ‘Father, I want right now what’s coming to me.’ So the father divided the property between them. It wasn’t long before the younger son packed his bags and left for a distant country.” (Luke 15: 12-13)

This is where all similarity to the royal family ends, because the young man in the Bible was very undisciplined and foolish. He spent all of his money and ended up slopping hogs on a pig farm. A famine struck the country and he became so desperate and hungry he wanted to eat the pig food. This brought him to his senses as he very clearly thought, “What am I doing here starving to death? My father has workers that sit down to three meals a day ... I’ll go back home and beg my father’s forgiveness and ask him to hire me.”

Meanwhile back at home, the father missed his son greatly and watched for him to return. In fact, verse 20 states that the father was watching the day the boy came walking down the road. I believe the father was grieving for his absent son; can’t you see him gazing toward the horizon day after day? Then he sees him in the distance! The Bible says “while he was a long way off he ran to him, embraced him and kissed him.”

The son began his apology, but the jubilant father wasn’t even listening. He’s calling for the servants to bring a robe for his boy, and new sandals and even a ring for his finger. Then he begins to plan a celebration feast.

“My son, who was dead is alive! I thought he was gone forever, but now he is found.”

Do you know what triggered Jesus to tell this story? Lost people were coming to hear his sermons and the pious religious people of that day were criticizing Jesus for hanging out with them. So he likened his Heavenly Father to the father in the story.

He always patiently waits for His children to return. All of these centuries later, nothing has changed ...God grieves over his wayward children and He celebrates our return to Him more than we can ever imagine. The same way He loves us more than we can ever imagine.

Rejoice, rejoice my son is coming home again. Rejoice, rejoice, go kill the fatted calf.

Rejoice, rejoice, my son is coming home again. Rejoice, rejoice, rejoice on his behalf.

Bring out the royal garment, the one from foreign lands.

Bring out the jeweled ring for him, to place upon his hand.

Bring him shoes for his feet, for the news is complete,

There’ll be dancing in the house tonight and feasting on the lawn tonight,

I rejoice within my soul tonight, my son is coming home!

— Henry and Hazel Slaughter music

Theda Workman lives in Tornado.

Essays on Faith may be submitted to gazette@wvgazettemail.com.

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FUNERALS FOR TODAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2020

Dyer, Lenora - 11 a.m., Perrow Presbyterian Church, Cross Lanes.

Haynes Jr., John - Noon, Elizabeth Baptist Church, Charleston.

Johnson, Charles - 1 p.m., O’Dell Funeral Home, Montgomery.

Lovejoy, Hevalene - 2 p.m., Rock Branch Independent Church.

Pate, Kenneth - 11 a.m., Allen Funeral Home, Hurricane.

Pearson, Deborah - 1 p.m., Akers-James Funeral Home, Logan.

Petry, Ruby - 7 p.m., Fidler and Frame Funeral Home, Belle.

Sypolt, Ernest - 7 p.m., Bartlett-Nichols Funeral Home, St. Albans.

White, Sharon - 6 p.m., Waybright Funeral Home, Ripley.

White, Terri - 2 p.m., Memory Gardens, Madison.

Wilkinson, Mary - 11 a.m., Koontz Funeral Home, Hamlin.