It's a terrible thing to lose something valuable, like an engagement ring, heirloom, family photos, or love letters. Of course, one of the worst things is to lose someone, like a child. There is infinite loss! A sudden traffic accident snatches away the light of our eyes, or we watch cancer steal away a vibrant young life so full of promise.

But there are more ways to lose a child than death, aren't there? There's the death of a relationship caused by a destructive lifestyle, religious views that divide, or the rejection of the faith of our fathers: beliefs we hold dear for ourselves and for them. These losses, as Colonel Gariepy of the Salvation Army puts it, can cause "Emotional seismic activity, that measure on the Richter scale of our hearts."

When distance grows between parents and children, the sense of loss is searing. Do you know that feeling? Which child left home? Which one stayed put, but is as far away from you as the other? Which pigsty are they in?

E. Stanley Jones, missionary to India, puts it this way: "Sometimes one wakens with the feeling of 'miss' indescribable except to those who know it." 

The Lord understands the long wait! He knows what it is to climb the stairs to the prayer place. Remember, He ever lives to intercede for us. He, who in infinite love and grace has stood for centuries on the rooftop of our world, patiently watching and waiting for His prodigals to come home, has not done it without a shattered heart. 

The incredible thing is when one here and one there come to their senses and begin the long walk home, He doesn't demand that we crawl to Him. He has every right to, of course. He has given us all we need for life and godliness in the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. Yes, we deserve to crawl home and cast ourselves at His feet. For we are all born with a prodigal heart, and all must arise and go to the Father (Luke 15:18).

But, beaten and whipped, the crawling has been done. He crawled to the cross for us. He bore the weight of the sin of the whole world: yours, mine, and everyone else's. Such love! 

Are you ready to take the first step back home? Why not say, "I will arise and go to my Father."

Stay very still and quiet just where you are. Can you hear His voice? Listen! He's saying, "You should have come sooner!"
"Lord, I'm coming."
"I see you. I'm waiting."
"Indeed, Lord. Indeed."

-Jill Briscoe,
Used by permission, Copyright 2010

If you would like more teaching on the prodigal son and other family matters, visit these popular resources on our website:
Prodigal Sons - Rebellion
 from Jill's series, Running on Empty
Experiencing Forgiveness
 from Jill's series, Hidden Treasures
Family Business
, Stuart's 6-Message series on marriage and family