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July 17, 2012

Dad, Watch Me!

The parable of The Prodigal Son is one of my favorite bible stories. The Father is watching and waiting for the return of the son who had strayed from the way of good and right. For us who are expecting God to restore a lost loved one, it is a story of hope and believing God for a miracle. And to those who have fallen this story brings to us that God is merciful to forgive and claim us as His own. 

There are two sons in the bible story but I only wrote of  the younger son and not the elder. For the story line, I wrote scenes that may have been familiar with that time-frame of history such as learning how to use the slingshot. The father tells the story as each leaf is turned from the pages of his memory. He shares of when his son was a young adventurous lad wanting his daddy's attention, then the day that his son, as a grown man, decides to move out and experience the world, and last of all, his son's homecoming day.

The gift of repentance truly is a wonderful thing: we can see ourselves in the mirror of God's Word and see the areas that do not reflect the Lord as we ought, we can repent, we can weep, and be restored.

I hope you enjoy the story of the Prodigal Son.

Luke 15:10-24
And Jesus said, A certain man had two sons,

Dad, Watch Me

I remember when my son called out to me, “Dad, watch me”, then he swung his slingshot round and round and hit his target. Boy was he excited and with a big grin he asked, “Dad, did you see that? I hit the post!”
“I see you have improved your aim in such a short time, have you been practicing much”, I asked knowing he broke a few of his mother’s things during his practices. “I will talk to him”, I said when his mother showed me the gifts I bought her in many broken pieces.

Son, you must be careful during your practice time that you do not use your slingshot too near the house. Your mother has told me she no longer has the alabaster I gave her on her birthday. A slingshot will cause much damage if not used properly, and it can be dangerous, too. Use your slingshot, but use it away from the house.” I could tell he heard the order in my voice even though he looked at me with such a sheepish grin to see if I was proud of his achievements at the same time. I winked and ruffled his hair. It felt good when he threw his arms around my waist and continued telling me of his adventures with every creature he aimed for being the biggest spider or the longest grasshopper ever; how his eyes shone with excitement. “I’m listening” and I'm watching, Son”, I must have said that several times that day as I listened to my son tell of his fearless acts .

Big Plans

And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.

WHERE IS MY BOY? What has it been, four, almost five years since I have seen him last? Is he alive, is he well? Oh! Where is he? I remember hearing his words, “Dad, I want to leave. I don't want to wait for my inheritance, I want it now. I want to experience the world and see new things. Why should I wait for what is already mine? I want to enjoy it while I am young. I want to take part of my money and invest it, too. Dad, I have big plans, just wait and see what I make of myself.” My heart was hurting when he said he wanted to leave. I listened to my son as he spoke. And as I watched his animation, the concern for my son grew.

His mother cried for days. On the first day after he left, we sat down to dinner and being that his chair was empty, I held her hand a little longer after the prayer was said. Looking at the meal, I noticed she had cooked his favorite meal and was having a hard time with her son being away. The conversation was slow at first but I put every effort to change the atmosphere for those at the table to enjoy their dinner. I asked my older son how the herd is coming along? The men at the table joined in the discussion but it all seemed as if though it was mere conversation; we all felt the absence of my youngest son. Since my wife did not have the heart to enjoy the meal she carefully prepared knowing he would not be here to eat it, she ate very littleI ate my meal heartily and I ate seconds so there would not be much left over when the dishes were cleared. While she was washing the dishes, I put my arm around her and kissed her cheek, "I was hungrier than I thought and everything looked so good", I said. She turned around in my embrace and wept. Wanting to be a strength to her, I stroked her hair and prayed for her and for our son. When she looked up at me, I smiled and told her that I love her.

Still Watching

My love, it is getting late, you must get some sleep”, said my wife as she rested her head on my chest.
I wrapped my arm around her waist, “I will”, I assured her as we stood on the hill. In the light of the oil lamp, I saw her concern and with a tenderness she said, “Each day, I see you climb the hill’s crest watching for our son; it sends an ache to my heart. Come, tomorrow will bring another day for us to watch the road for our son.
“You’re right”, I said reaching for her hand as we turned and walked back to the house.

Though many years have passed I continued watching for my son. “Dad, watch me”, “I am watching, Son” how many times did I say that to him when he wanted to show me something he accomplished. And now I am watching the road for any sign of his coming home. I believe if I continue to hope for his return, my prayers will be answered.

And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.

There is a small dust cloud in the distance. The type of dust a traveler makes. Someone must be coming this way. I can make out the form of a man. A very thin looking man but is it him? He is at quite a distance but he looks familiar, is it him? I ran down the road, the closer I got the faster I tried to run, “I was watching, Son. I was watching for you, Son” I said over and over as I ran. “I was watching for you!” Tears nearly blinded my sight but I already knew, my son was coming home, I saw him coming up the road. As I threw my arms around my weakened boy, I kept saying, “I was watching, Son. I was watching for you to come home.”

And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. 

Through his tears my son asked me to let him become a servant stating that he did not deserve to be called my son.
“What?”, I asked. “Son, you are home. You will not be a servant to me. You are welcomed as my own son: my son, bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh.”
With my arm around his shoulder, we walked back home.

And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry.

His mother? Well, she came running out crying, “My baby! My baby!” and they embraced. For dinner, she wanted to make every one of his favorite dishes but I said, "We are going to celebrate tonight! Kill the fatted calf, my son has come home”, and the house was in a state of excitement.

I knew my son wanted to talk and when I came into his room he smiled and tears filled his eyes as he said, "Dad, thank you for letting me come home. I have made such a mess of my life... You see, Dad, I..."

I listened as he spoke and saw his repentance.

It was,

riotous living. And when I had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and I began to be in want. And I went and joined myself to a citizen of that country; and he sent me into his fields to feed swine. And I would fain have filled my belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto me. Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.

But the father said to his servants,  Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet

I brought the family ring to my son and placed it on his finger to show that he belongs here. Everyone who sees this ring on his finger will recognize him as my son and that he has the rights of a son: to be free and not a servant. I placed the robe on his back, after the shoes were put on his feet, I stepped back and took a good look at him.

For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

I smiled at him and said, "Welcome home, Son. I have watched for you to come home and here you are with us. The Lord, has answered our prayers and restored you to your family. I have so much to be thankful of, Son. The Lord is good and He covers us with His mercy. And His mercy is everlasting."

The Father watched the road to see his miracle. He watched, expecting to see his miracle. I am watching the road, expecting to see my miracle. Several weeks ago, Bro. Swindal preached in our morning service on prayer can change the situation from ending in tragedy to an blessed event. I began to hope once more on a special prayer request of mine. And I am hoping for you, too.

I enjoyed sharing the bible story with you. Thank you for stopping by.

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