Return of the Prodigal, Part Two: What Happens When God Calls You By Name
If you didn't read last week's post, you can catch up at http://lisamurrayonline.com/2014/08/return-prodigal-part-one-youre-waiting-end-long-road-home/.
I sat and listened to him fill in the missing puzzle pieces of his life. With each story, a mixture of joy and pain. There is the distinct realization that in every event, every experience, we were missing.
He apologized. Said he had been wrong, immature. Said he needed to get his life right.
He said he had moved out west with his other family, the one who never gets shut out. He said he had poured himself into partying, trying to fill a whole inside. Said it wouldn’t go away. Described a voice, God, tugging at his heart to come home. He resisted for a while, but eventually relented, that’s what he said.
Saturday evening the phone rang, and it was him, asking if he could go to church with us in the morning.
That Sunday was particularly beautiful. The sun was warm, but not sweltering. The ride to church was both enjoyable and careful, as if everyone wanted to tread lightly to protect this moment.
The country roads, the horses and the hayfields steadied me. They always steady me. The country has a way of anchoring my soul into its strong and rocky soil. I needed to be anchored.
We walked in the sanctuary and found our seats – right side of the sanctuary, mid-way back. As it has always been — Husband. Son. Me.
Worship began. Every song, it seemed, was about victory, resounding with hope and redemption. It all seemed so surreal. How did the thing we prayed for so long come to sit right next to me? Can this be?
Somewhere in the middle of the singing, the band playing, the music seeping into the pews and right into my ache, Pastor Steve got up on stage and stopped the music. He said, “God is telling me that there is a prodigal son here and I need to let you know that you don’t have to run any longer. You are home.”
How could he have known? He couldn’t have known.
That moment, something other-worldly, other-something careened into me. I was dumbstruck, awesestruck, devastated and yes, undone. Lightening bolted in my heart and I heard something speak almost audibly, saying, “Lisa, I’ve got this under control. I’ve always had this under control.”
The pastor said, “I am going to wait for you. I want you to come take my hand.”
Now, the church is large and a number of people made their way forward. Not him. My heart fell.
The pastor said, “You’re still not here. I’m giving you ten more seconds to get down here. Ten – nine – eight…"
He made his way out of the pews, out from the center of Husband. Son. Me, and walked right down to the pastor, right down to the place where he came home to his Abba Father, where he made things right, where he met Jesus. He met Jesus!
At the end of the service as we were standing to leave, an older gentleman in the seats in front of us turned around and said, “Son, I have a word for you.” He said, “You are not a prodigal son, you are a chosen son, a chosen son. You have been called and annointed. You are to be a leader. You are a chosen son.” Right after he said that, he added, “ I don’t even know why I said that. I don’t go to church here. I’m just in town visiting my daughter.”
Now isn’t that just like God? He doesn’t just want to save us, He wants to give us a new identity.
We will only find our truest emotional identity here on earth once we’ve claimed our spiritual identity. We can never discover who we are, our worth, our values and beliefs, much less our passion and our purpose until we’ve come to know ourselves as the Beloved. We are the Beloved of our Father.
Do you know your spiritual identity? Have you come to accept yourself as the Beloved? If not, what stands in your way?
He stood waiting for my son, right side of the sanctuary, midway back. He called His name, right in the middle of Husband. Son. Me.
He stands waiting for you. Right where you are.
You don’t have to run any longer. You are home.