When You Are Done

Colleen and a concerned parent.
Rosetta, Kelly, Julie, Tara. Hanna, Gina, Pam, Lise….

These are just a few of the names that mentioned prayer requests in Monday’s Wayward Son entry. There are many more. If you would, please go back and read with us and help us pray.

When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare and here I am starving to death!
— Luke 15:17

If you have my latest book, you know where I'm going, because you know the story. A silhouette appears on the horizon. Too far away to distinguish, but a father who's been waiting for his son to come home can't help but wonder.

Squinting, he raises his hand over his eyes to block the sun's glare. As the distant figure gets closer, the father begins to walk in that direction; slowly at first, trying to match the pace of his visitor. Until he realizes this is...this is…this is no visitor. It's him. It's his boy. His long, lost son was home. And with compassion and forgiveness, he ran to him, embraced him, kissed him, clothed him and fed him. Grace happened.

You know the story. The prodigal son is nothing new to you. The son takes his inheritance and high-tails it his way to the highway. You know the story. And in one way or another maybe you've lived it. Perhaps you're living it now. Maybe not with an inheritance, but perhaps with your inherited health, a job, with a relationship or with the one you want. Long hours, long days, obligations, deadlines, family matters, friends that matter, must-see TV and your must-read social media find you on foreign soil; a place you were never designed to be. Maybe it's time to go home.

We had a rule growing up. If my brother and I got in trouble for doing something wrong, we weren't allowed to keep pouting about it. No sir. Once it was done - and my brother got what he deserved - it was over. Finished. Like it never happened. Well okay, we suffered consequences, yes, but it wasn't held over our heads. In fact, if I was pouting about it later on, you guessed it, I got in trouble for pouting. You know what that taught me? Trust. I trusted my parents. I knew what to expect.
Periodically reprimanded, constantly loved.

Our anchor song this week is “Carry On Wayward Son” by Kansas. Take a listen. And if you’re still with me, check out the lyrics as it relates to our verse and my thoughts:

Once I rose above the noise and confusion,
Just to get a glimpse beyond the illusion,
I was soaring ever higher, but I flew too high.
Though my eyes could see I still was a blind man,
Though my mind could think I still was a mad man,
Masquerading as a man with a reason,
My charade is the event of the season,
And if I claim to be a wise man, it surely means that I don't know.
On a stormy sea of moving emotion,
Tossed about I'm like a ship on the ocean,
I set a course for winds of fortune, but I hear the voices say…

Carry On My Wayward Son.”

The Bridge
Although he came back with memories of deeds as stinky as his pig-slopped clothes, the prodigal in our verse couldn't stray beyond his father's love. Before he knew it, a robe replaced rags, a ring dressed his hand and a feast filled his belly. And while you and I may not have mud on our shoes, there's not a person reading this sentence who doesn't need that kind of grace from a grace-giving God.

You’ll forgive the long entry, but I’m reading a book by David Brooks called “The Road to Character.” I think in some ways that’s the road the prodigal was on as he made his way back home, agree?

Brooks says, “Occasionally you come across certain people who seem to posses an impressive inner cohesion. They are not leading scattershot lives. They don’t crumble in adversity. They are not blown off course by storms. They are inclined to be useful but don’t need to prove anything to the world; humility, restraint, respect and a soft self-discipline. They radiate a moral joy and perform acts of service with the same modest everyday spirit they would display if they were just getting the groceries. They’re not thinking about their impressive work. They’re not thinking about themselves at all. They are just delighted by the flawed people around them.

Part of me thinks that describes the wayward son after his road to character. Something tells me he soaked things up when he got home. Something tells me that once he accepted grace, he had soft eyes, a tender heart, a helping hand, and a forgiving spirit. Something tells me he was different. Whether or not he ever looked back down the path that brought him back home, I’m not sure. I suppose we’ll have to wait for the chorus.

— Jimmy Peña