Last night I had the first opportunity in weeks to attend a church service. I feel a hint of shame even as I speak those words. Walking from the parking lot to the sanctuary, my mind turned to the image of the prodigal son. I wondered. Am I a prodigal myself?
I did not expect the quick response. A sense of peace spread over me and I knew at once that I was not, but I also felt very keenly the distance between me and God. The best way I can think to put it is that I’m a long way from home. As I’ve had more time to think on it, I find myself somewhere between the two sons. No longer purely the elder son of my legalistic church upbringing, but neither am I the rebellious son in a far off land. It might be easier to be one or the other, and at times I’ve hungered for the simplicity of both, but that is not who I am.
Thankfully, I walk away with at least this small bit of comfort. I am His son. Even if I feel the distance between us. Even if I feel estranged from my Heavenly Father. I am His son. He has yet to let me go. Just as the Father of the two sons waited expectantly for His sons, longing for them to know Him and accept His love, so too does He wait for me. In one way, that knowledge is in itself a homecoming of sorts for an estranged son.
I wish I fully understood what the words I’m about to utter mean. I wish I understood exactly what they mean in a practical, applicable way, but I don’t. I only know that it’s time to come home. Home, that is, in knowing my Father. So that, no matter where I go between now and the day I really return Home, I’ll carry home with me.