Just Come Home

homeThis is the story I was told:  A young man had made some poor choices. He was at the end of his rope and knew he had failed himself, his parents, and the commitment he made to his God years before. Sure, he’d had good intentions and he had been sincere. Life happened; he made wrong choices; he had fallen and now he wondered if there was any way to get back up and start over again.

One evening  as he sat down in the middle of the mess where he was living, he called his folks. He wasn’t sure that he really wanted them to know his dilemma, but he didn’t know where else to go or what else to do.

Heartbroken, they listened as the phone lines carried his words of failure, defeat, and hopelessness.

At the end of his tired explanation, they said three words.

Those words gave him hope and belonging.

          “Just come home.”

He was their child, their son. All they wanted him to do was come home.

What is it about just coming home that brings healing and restoration?  What is it about coming home that gives life and re-birth and hope?

They had given him wings, and now it was time to go back to his roots.

He needed to remember that he belonged.

That’s how the Father is with us. When we have been so wrong, when we have failed Him or others, all He asks of us is what those parents asked of their son: just come home.

It’s what the father of the prodigal son wanted most of all for his son: just come home.

It’s what any parent wants for a wayward child or a lost one who is out of the fold: just come home.

It’s what our Heavenly Father wants for us most of all: just come home.

I’ve been there. I might not have been eating the husks fed to the pigs, but I’ve been away. I’ve needed to just come home. Sometimes the wandering begins because of hurt, anger, or grief. We distance ourselves from those who caused the pain; we distance ourselves from God who allowed the pain to happen.

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Before we even know what’s happening, we’ve drifted away from home, away from safety, away from the harbor. We don’t recognize what happened to cause us to become distant from our safe harbor. It happens so subtly that sometimes we’re drifting far from the shore before we realize we’re treading dangerous waters. That’s when it’s time to just come home.

It’s the best place to be, and the best place to go when we’ve wandered, failed, and messed up completely.

If you’re in a place far from home; if you’ve wasted your time, your energy, your money, and your life; if you’ve spent until you’re penniless, just go home.

The lights of Home are still on, begging you to come in. There’s a welcome there – just for you. There is love and forgiveness waiting at Home.

Just come home.

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Equipped for an Unknown Giant

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Equipping for battles yet unknown

The boy was the youngest of his family, with seven brothers older. One of his jobs as a youngster and teenager was tending to his father’s sheep. It had to be a lonely job with no one to talk to, spending hours outside in the hot sun, making sure the sheep were protected and cared for while his older brothers had more important jobs to do.

How many years did he do this? No one knows. It seems the job had been passed down from brother to brother until it came to the youngest – where it stayed. He could not have known that this was how God was equipping him for his future.

The lad spent a lot of time outdoors with little to do for entertainment, except when wild animals came to threaten the flock. No doubt, he spent hours alone, practicing his aim with his shepherd’s slingshot. Perhaps he tried to see how far or how high his sling could make a stone fly. Perhaps he aimed for distant birds or a crevice in a tree or a rock. Obviously, he became skilled in what he did, for when the time came to defend the flock against a lion, and later a bear, he was fully capable. Obviously, he recognized that the hand of the Lord was on him. How else would he have been able to rescue a lamb from the mouth of that lion?!

Who would have thought that one day this boy would become known the world over? Who would have thought he’d ever become someone of distinction. He was the youngest, and his job was in the fields with his father’s smelly sheep – or so his brothers told him. Who would have thought God was using a herd of sheep in equipping him for later battles?

His oldest brothers had positions of importance in the king’s army. Their father obviously cared about them, for he inquired of their health and welfare by sending his youngest son to be his gofer. The young man took bread and cheese as a gift and traipsed across the miles to check on his older brothers. [You can read the entire account here.]

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Equipped with a slingshot and faith

When he arrived, he found out about that giant. His name was Goliath, and he easily stood a yard taller than David.

David did not become a fearless warrior overnight. His journey from Bethlehem to the valley of Elah did not a warrior make.  His equipping had developed years earlier as a sheepherder. The young man’s faith and lack of fear was a result of those months and years tending his father’s sheep.

That is why he did not need the king’s armor or shield. David recognized that he had never “tested” that equipment. Because of his past experiences tending his father’s sheep, he could go forward in faith. A slingshot had been his weapon in the past, and he had proved it over and over again. David knew that this battle was the Lord’s.

God had been equipping and preparing him for years as he faithfully fulfilled his lowly responsibility- shepherding sheep. His faith and lack of fear was a result of those months and years he tended his father’s sheep. Instead of doing a sloppy job because no one was watching, David became a great sheepherder. It is certain that God took notice of this young man and his faithfulness. His practice caring for the sheep of his father prepared him to become a warrior and a king.

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Whose battle are you fighting?

Where is God taking you in your journey of faith?

Are you becoming acquainted with His heart so that others will declare you to be a man or woman after God’s own heart?

Is your faith becoming real and genuine from facing the bears and lions in your life, or are you resentful of where God is asking you to tend sheep?

Are you zoning in to become the best marksman you can be so that, should God call you to slay a giant of mammoth proportions, your skill, and your faith will be ready and alert?

Where does God have you so He can better equip you to serve in His Kingdom?

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