Reading my morning’s devotion, Luke 15, I’m reading the story we are all familiar, that of the “Prodigal Son”.  This particular parable has an experiential meaning, for me, because in so many ways the story became my reality; however, it is this particular quotation by Matthew Henry, the 17th century Bible commentator which struck a chord today.  He states,

“Every step of backsliding from God must be a step back again in return to Him.”

I remember that fateful Sunday morning when I made the phone call which would begin my journey back from the “riotous living” and spending my all on “harlots and drugs”.  When I left home in June 1991, pockets filled with money, nine weeks later, I returned penniless, an outcast from the outcast, hungry and yet I fed everyone and no one would feed me to the extent I went from about 180 lbs. to just under 140, in nine weeks!  Sleeping either outside or on the floor of a crowded crackhouse was when I came to my “right mind” and determined I would, too, go to my father’s house where there was plenty and all who sat at his table ate well.

“Every step of backsliding from God must be a step back again in return to Him.”

I think even today some 24 years later, I’m still taking steps back from that point in my life to regaining my position to my heavenly Father’s home.  I know there will soon come a day when instead of the rags I wore then, I will be given a robe of righteousness.  Instead of a ring upon my finger, there will be a crown placed upon my head, and there will be no “fatted” calf, but instead to be served at the table where Christ will present the best heaven has to offer and it will definitely be a glorious day because I made the decision even go “back” to my both literal and figurative, father’s house.

The same commentator wrote:

“Afflictions, when they are sanctified by divine grace, prove happy means of turning sinners from the error of their ways.”

I read how some of you, by your posts, are suffering affliction and many do not understand the cause.  I can tell you this, the journey to the Kingdom is one not filled with total joy except when you consider the “grace” mingled with the difficult times.  That Sunday morning when I hung up the phone, the instruction given to me was to begin to walk toward the Newburgh/Beacon Bridge.  It would be the same bridge I crossed to be on the wrong side of life, driven in my late model car, but here I would have to cross the same bridge, but this time reduced to walking, step by step, hungry, thirsty, hot in the early morning August sun, but there was joy in each step.  Each step was coming “from” the life of sin “to” a life of redemption.

I was filled with joy when my father’s van was seen in the distance.  How much more will we be filled with joy when we see the caravan of angels bringing Christ closer to our rescue and our pain and affliction ends!  Don’t give up walking, getting back to where you need to be.

We’re almost there!


October 29, 2015