The father said to his slaves, “Quickly, bring out a robe—the best one—and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. And get the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!” (Luke 15:22-24)
Anyone who has ever lost a child in a shopping mall understands the heart of God.
Sorting through a rack of clothes, you look down, and a cold, hollow chill twists your stomach. Turning one way, then another, she is not there. Feverish, you rush down one aisle and up another. Where did she go? She was here a moment ago. Is she still in the store? Did she run into the mall?
Dark fears race through the mind and a wave of nausea sickens, as you turn wildly about, looking. Until. Until you hear the sing-song of a tiny voice and see the curve of a familiar cheek, or perhaps you hear her tearful lament as she cannot find you, and you fly to enfold her in your arms, a tear of relief in your eye because the lost is found.
Fear evaporates … for both of you … as you stroke her hair and cradle her close. “Where were you? I didn’t know where you were. You scared me.”
The words are not spoken in anger but in love, joy and relief, and you return to your shopping but shaken, promising yourself you will never turn away again.
Hold this moment. Listen to everything it has to teach. For in this moment, you know who God is; you know the Love you are created to enjoy, the Love to whom you can return every time you feel lost or alone, empty or afraid.
You are a child of a Great Love who longs for your nearness. This Love is your home, a home from which we wander like the prodigal son, creating pain in our hearts and in the heart of God.
Every day should end with a few quiet moments alone with God, reconnecting with your home that you may remember who you are … and rest in the Love who hungers for you.
Pr. David L. Miller