All of my life, even as a child, there was something that told me I did not belong. It had nothing to do with my parents. They were loving and caring people who provided for me, taught me right from wrong, gave me what I needed and many things I wanted. They were very loving and giving. Yet there was something missing, an ever present 'thing' in my existence. It was as if I was an alien, walking a path not meant for me. There are some of you who understand this so well that you are even now saying 'YES YES, that's me.' Let me tell you my story then because I finally found where I belong and so can you.
I was an only child and at the time it seemed that it was part of the problem. No, that was not it. Like an illusive dream, that 'something' stayed just out of reach of my mind. Searching in books, movies, comic books, songs took up much of my time as a teen. At 18 years old, I left home still searching for that illusive something. For years I traveled, not making any one place home for very long. It occurred to me that perhaps it wasn't a someTHING but a someONE so the search turned to finding a husband. The first available and willing male showed up and we were married. Trust me, this is a major mistake. Just because they are willing and you are lonely does not mean that this is the right thing to do. It works both ways, you guys. We were mismatched from the beginning. I was more of a mother to him than a wife. My needs included a gentle authority figure to keep me from 'ruling the world!' This man could not ever fill that need. It was not in his ability to do so. Finally, I ended up running the family. We had a daughter. My spouse let me make all the decisions, claiming that he had no idea of what to do at any time. It did not seem the right thing to do but someone had to do this and he would not.
Traveling was still the prime objective. We moved fairly often, even to different states and cities away from my hometown, family, and friends. Yet nothing would satisfy. Nothing quenched that wandering spirit inside me. I dreamed of other places, other days, other times. Admittedly, my husband did not feel as I did but that did not change anything. We traveled. Listening to a song by Loretta Lynn one day, I cried out to God asking why did those mean people put Someone like Jesus on a cross. That had to hurt so much. In tears, I talked to myself because I was not sure if Anyone could hear me. 'Why, why, why? If You really do exist, then tell me why they did that?' Hearing nothing, that question was forgotten by me....but not by God.
The day the truck died, never to run again, we had a dollar left. No food, no place to live, no vehicle to drive because the block in the engine was cracked. Around the corner, there was a ministry we had been headed to with folks who said they would give us a place to live for a couple of days. One of the things you learn doing this sort of thing is that when you stay in such places, they want you to do something for them and then they will do something for you. In most cases, it required you to listen to a preacher of some kind before supper or after supper and before bed. I loved church so this was not a problem for me. It had occurred to me that others might not feel that way. I didn't care. Yet there were no answers in those other places we had stayed either. When the folks gave us a whole huge house to live in, they explained that it was really a place for visiting volunteers so we would not be able to stay long. It was Mississippi. It was 1975. That is another story by itself. I will share that one day.
These folks did not ask anything of us. But the obligation still remained in my mind. On Sunday, we went to church with them. After services, I found where I belonged and it was glorious. Someone asked me if I knew Jesus. I remember that man's name to this day because we prayed together and Jesus came into my heart. I was home!!! The Lord was faithful. He had answered my question from six months before. It was simple. Jesus died on that cross to save me! It is personal.
Thinking back on it all, I'm reminded of the story in Luke 15:11-32 of the prodigal son. He wanted his inheritance from his father and took off for other places. After he spent all he had, the son went to work in the hog fields. Yet, he did not have as good a meal as they because there was a famine in the land. He came to his senses thinking that even his father's servants had more to eat than he did. It was time to go home. He thought that he was not worthy to be the father's son anymore so would work as a slave in order to eat. After all, he had taken his half of the inheritance and it was now gone.
The story says that he went home, expecting to be received as a servant. Yet, when the father saw him still far away, he quickly went to the son before the child had even come all the way to the house. This tells me that the father had been looking for him, waiting and hoping, expecting to see the son come home. Despite the things the son had done, the father welcomed him home, gave him a robe and a ring which signifies the father's authority. All was forgiven. The father called the servants to kill a calf and have a celebration because the prodigal child had returned.
In the meanwhile, the older son who had stayed home and still received his inheritance, was angry because the father had not had any sort of celebration for him and he had stayed home, being faithful, not going and doing things that were not proper to do. The father calmly told him that all the things that were the father's belonged also to the him. But the younger son, who had been lost but now was found, was home and it was time to celebrate.
Are you a 'prodigal child?' Have you wandered away from home and can't find what you are looking for? Are you a seeker, not sure what it is but wanting desperately to discover that illusive dream? Jesus is waiting for you to come home to Him. Believe me, everything that was in me to wander disappeared that day because I knew that I was no longer an alien, no longer seeking that illusive dream. In fact, it wasn't a dream anymore but reality. A wonderful, glorious reality.
I can hear you now. 'But I have done things that are not acceptable, not to be forgiven.' Or 'I am too bad a person. No one loves me, no one cares.' How about 'I feel so dirty. There is too much water under the bridge for me now.' Remember the father in the story? He did not care what the son had done, even though the son had spent all of what the father had given him. He did not care that the son had been gone that long. None of those things mattered. When the father saw the son coming, he welcomed him home despite everything. Jesus is doing the same thing for you right now. He loves you so much that, if you ask Him, He will forgive all that you have done. There is no sin so big that He will not or cannot forgive. Just come and receive Him into your heart today. He promises to remove those burdens that you carry.
Matthew 11:28-30, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
If you have not asked Jesus into your heart, please come. If you have done so but are walking a path not the Lord's but your own, please come. If you think that there is no hope, no use in living, please come. Wanderer, come home.
Father, I am a sinner. I have done things that are not right. Please forgive me. Cleanse me of all those things. Come into my heart, Lord Jesus. You are my Savior. You died on the cross for me. You rose on the third day like You said You would and now are seated at God's right hand talking to Him for me. Holy Spirit, fill me to overflowing. Thank You!! Thank You Lord! I am saved. I belong to the family of God now. I have come home! Amen.
Thank you for letting me tell my story. Now go get that bible! Dust it off and start to read all about Jesus, your Brother. My recommendation is the book of John in the new testament. Find a church that will preach the bible. Some don't. Pray and listen to the Lord each day. I have just one more thing to say to you. Wanderer, welcome home!!
Couple of other articles for you:
The Long Road Home
You Must Pay The Price