I came across a blog about a week ago by a guy named John. The battery on my laptop went dead and I lost the page before I got a chance to really read it. I'm not sure how to find it again, but the few sentences I read have really had an impact on me. Most of what I'm going to put here comes directly from what I remember of his post. John, if you happen to stumble across my blog the way I stumbled across yours, thanks.
I re-read the story of the Prodigal son again a few weeks ago. Its not my favorite story in the Bible. I don't care for it because in my experience its not actually how things work. I've talked a little about my anger and rebellion and attempt to return home. When I turned for home I felt like God had moved or something. My story is the Psalms 13, "how long will you hide from me? Will you forget me forever?" Kind of story.
I think the problem for me was not that I got home and God had moved so much as I had turned for home I just hadn't gotten there yet. It seems I ran further than I thought. I talked in an earlier post about the day I came across Psalms 13 and felt like God had cracked the door in a dark room. I couldn't see much, but I had a direction. For the purposes of this story that day was the day he turned the porch light on. I'm on my way home, its night and the road in dark but I know the way and I'm sure He's waiting.
This is the mind set I had when I read the prodigal son last week. I thought in this new frame of mind I would enjoy the story more. There was something about it that still made me uncomfortable. I couldn't figure out why I wasn't real excited about coming home until I read John's blog.
I've said before that I learned some things growing up in church that turned out to be destructive. I was told at an early age that when I died, at the judgment, I would have to give an account of my life. I was told that at the judgment God would ask (something along the lines of), "Why should I let you into Heaven"? I hadn't really thought about it, but it turns out that was really affecting the way I approached God. In the story of the prodigal son it just didn't seem right to have the father run out to the son throw his arms around him and ask, "why should I let you come home"? We all know that boy didn't deserve to be allowed back in the house. I know that I don't either.
John suggested, and I now imagine that when the father met his son on the road that day the question may have been, Have you realized who you are? Its a much nicer question. It suggests that its your identity and not your actions that welcome you home.
On my journey I have learned more about who I am. The answer to that question is very close to my heart and still very difficult for me. Its something I haven't felt or said in a long time. The closer I get to home the more I feel it. I become increasingly aware of who I am. When the day breaks and the Father sees me in the distance I'm ready to meet him. When we meet and the question is asked I will fall into his embrace and say, "I am your son."