Monday, April 21, 2014

Some People Die Before They Hit Bottom

Photo by Imagens Evangélicas (Flickr) 

I will get up, go to my father, and tell him I’m sorry – that  I’m really, really sorry. Jason let out a
heavy sigh and slid down the wall to a seated position. He squeezed his eyes shut for a long moment. But after all I’ve done to him, why would he forgive me?

Then Jason sat up straighter and almost smiled (the first time he came even near to smiling in months). Talking to an empty liquor bottle, he said, “What if I go back home and ask Dad if I can sleep on the floor of the garage. I’d eat whatever leftovers they would be willing to give me.” His stomach growled in agreement. “In return, I’ll wash and wax the cars, mow the grass, clean the gutters – and do whatever other chores he gives me.”

He might just go for it. Jason stood up and punched the concrete wall just hard enough to feel it. Letting out a long sigh, he picked up his backpack, and took the first steps back home.

While still a long ways off, he could just barely see the fence that surrounded the house he once called home. He wiped  the sweat from his eyes with his sleeve, and  noticed a man hurrying toward him.“Whoa! Is that Dad? If that is him, I never saw him run so fast. He must be madder than I thought.” Jason got up and turned to flee in the opposite direction.

“Jason! Jason!! Don’t turn away. Wait for me!”

Jason didn’t know what to think, but out of sheer exhaustion and desperation, he decided to wait. As his dad got closer, sweat poured from Jason’s brow. His heart began to pound harder and harder. This is a bad idea. Maybe, I should run –

Before Jason could finish his thought, his dad threw his arms around him and hugged him very tightly.

Jason, hesitated only for a moment before he wrapped his arms around his father and hugged him very tightly, too. “Dad, I’m sorry.”

 “Son! I’ve been watching for you. Watching and waiting for you to come home!”
(This story is based on Luke 15:11-24)
As we read a story like this, it doesn’t take us long to recall our own weak moments, does it? Perhaps this morning, you yelled at your husband or slapped your child,. Or maybe you stole an idea from your co-worker, or money from your parent’s wallet, or cheated on a test at school, or relapsed into drugs or sexual immorality.

Or maybe you’ve done something much, much worse.

Luke 15: (New American Standard Bible)
:18 I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight.
:20 So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.

What choices are you making that you constantly regret?

We don’t have to wait until we hit bottom before we realize we’ve got to change. Frankly, some of you may run out of time before you ever hit bottom. Your choices may kill you first!

What if:
  • While we're still in the cycle of our sinful or bad choices, instead of continually running away from, or avoiding God, we say, “I will rise and go to my Father?”
  • We allow God to throw His loving and compassionate arms around us, so He can help us break the cycle?
  • We don’t wait until we hit bottom?

Father, again I thank You for Your immense mercy! Instead of adding to my feelings of guilt and failure, You constantly offer compassion, love and grace. Help me to never delay coming to You when I am in need of Your strength – especially regarding the choices I make.

This week’s goal (and practical applications):
This week as I meditate on the story of the Prodigal Son, especially Luke 15:18 and 20, I will ask the Holy Spirit to remind me to get up and go to my Father even when – no, especially when – I am “still a long way off” from where I need to be.

For instance,
When I see myself caught up in sinful behavior, I will break the cycle by repenting. Instead of avoiding having my quiet time, I will go to my Father. I will spend as much time with Him as I need to throughout the day.

I will not wait to hit bottom in any situation, even in those as “minor” as behaving disrespectfully to Bert, but will seek an accountability person early in the process.

And I will be sure to select helpful Bible verses to memorize or meditate on.

What do you think? Let’s have a real conversation about this topic!
  • Will you take the first step back to your Father?
  • Please don’t let the shame you feel keep you from “facing God.”  He is waiting for you right now. Take the first step – and then picture Him running to you!

Will you do it today? Now?

Post your comments on one or more points mentioned using the comment link. Click on the Sharing Guidelines tab for instructions on how to post comments)

Note: Memorizing Scripture Blog (for anyone) and the Coffee with Sheryl blog (for ladies) both have the Current Goals tab located under the blogs' headers. "Current Goals" offers several practical links including topics such as: being a better spouse or parent, choosing better eating and exercising habits, overcoming addictions, dealing with depression, etc. The Immediate Goals link (for setting task-related goals) is only available at the Coffee with Sheryl Blog

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  1. This post reminds me of when I first started confessing my sins to you and you would direct me to go quickly and directly to our Heavenly Father. You always pointed me in the same direction and reassured me that He was there for me with open arms. I finally learned to stop wallering around in the mud and go to my Father who really does love me and really is changing me into His likeness. We really do serve a great God and He really does love us!

    1. Indeed, God is great in so many ways.

      I am so proud of you (in Christ), Barbara! You have made so much progress. I'm glad you became part of the blog. What a journey!

  2. You are such a talented writer. That was so touching. I could see the story unfolding in front of my eyes. I held it together until the very end.

    God's love for us is so amazing. It is awesome to think that a magestic, glory-filled, Creator of the universe would put aside His dignity and pride and run after us they way He did. Have you ever heard the song, "When God Ran?" It is so beautiful.

    1. I love that song by Benny Hester! It beautifully portrays God's heart for us.
      Your comment also speaks well of our heavenly Father's willingness and desire to chase us with His amazing unfailing love. You truly have a gift with words.

      And thank you for the compliment, Susan! As always, I appreciate your stopping by.

  3. Always anointed, my friend. The Lord bless you over and over again as you minister.

    1. Thank you, Marsha. I appreciate your prayer and your friendship so very much.

      The way you minister God's love each and every day (such as the way you showed kindness toward me when I needed a friend many years ago) continues to be an example to me.

      I miss you! I will let you know the next time we're in your area.


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