I have been walking this path for some time. Suspended in the space between head and heart. I observe myself in sin, I hate my sin, yet I choose it. I know in my heart that I have strayed. I know in my heart where I need to return. I have yet to convince my feet to follow. My hands work hard to remain idle.
“Why do I continue to sojourn in the desert when a room awaits me amidst milk and honey?”
I have received my lover’s invitation, but I refuse to accept it. I have become hungry for hardship. Not because I am convinced I will triumph, rather I have judged myself and am seeking my own sentence. As I wander, I begin to forget what it feels like to be welcomed home. It is difficult for me to recall your face, your eyes are hidden from me.
“Have I forgotten what they look like? No. I have omitted them in hopes of remaining hidden.”
I couldn’t stand to look you in the eye. I have made a mockery of you. I have denied you in the morning and in the evening. Surely there is no place for me at your table. Surely this lavish grace you have offered has limits, right? I have entertained these thoughts often as of late. From deep inside, I feel the urge to think another bold thought.
“What if I return home? Will I be turned away at the gate? And how far must I be from home? Even if I turn around, all I will see is desert, how will I find my way home?”
For the first time in ages, I have ceased walking and running. I have not turned back, but I feel courage welling up inside as I refuse to take another step further from home.
“What if he meant it when he said he would never turn me away? Even if I have to earn back my inheritance, I would rather sleep in your guesthouse than lay my head in this desert.”
I am terrified to turn and begin toward home. Somehow I know that your benevolence will swallow my hedonism, urging me to take the first step toward home, to turn around. With tears streaming, my heart softening, I turn back to home for the first time since absconding. I am met with disbelief and elation.
“I can still see my Father’s house! I must have walked hundreds of miles! Have I always been this close?!”
Before my first step homeward lands, I see You running with abandon. To meet me. Instinctively, I look down as you approach. Before He embraces me, His hand lifts my chin. I remember his eyes now, so warm. All of my questions answered in a moment.
Time to return home to my Father.
“When he was still a long way off, his father saw him. His heart pounding, he ran out, embraced him, and kissed him. The son started his speech: ‘Father, I’ve sinned against God, I’ve sinned before you; I don’t deserve to be called your son ever again.’ But the father wasn’t listening. He was calling to the servants, ‘Quick. Bring a clean set of clothes and dress him. Put the family ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Then get a grain-fed heifer and roast it. We’re going to feast! We’re going to have a wonderful time! My son is here—given up for dead and now alive! Given up for lost and now found!” –Luke 15:20-24