It’s just a phrase, COMING HOME! But what does this pithy expression mean to you? Is there a gripping sense of urgency that pulls you into it? COMING HOME!! Does it spell magic like love? Is there some sort of magnetic field that attracts you to return to that space of comfort you call HOME?
If you were an OFW who had been away for years and would often dream of being reunited with your family, coming home could mean excitement beyond measure at the thought of your equally excited loved ones waiting for you.
Or, you could be anybody – a boss, a businessman, a professional, an employee, a worker – doesn’t the idea of coming home bring joyful anticipation? And, come to think of it, most often than not, pupils and students (and sometimes, teachers, too!), after classes are over for the day, would rush out of their respective rooms and with a flurry in their steps, get a ride or run their way home.
What gives? When almost everything in the house remains the same: the same people, the same faces, the same food – ( reheated countless times that it has become so soft and tender swallowing is effortless. It just slides down to the alimentary canal without any provocation.) And you are still COMING HOME?
But what if you were coming home after serving a prison term? What if you were coming home after failing in an interview or after losing your job? What if you were coming home after a doctor’s demoralizing prognosis? What if you were coming home after spending your month’s earnings in a drinking spree with your friends or after wallowing in sin, after drowning yourself in a sea of vices and worldly pleasures? What if you were coming home poor, poorer than a country mouse and into an empty dwelling place? Would coming home be still your idea of fun and excitement? Perhaps not. The thrill must have lost its enticing power. Dread and shame and confusion take over as you bite the bullet for the inevitable confrontation.
I am reminded of the STORY OF THE PRODIGAL SON which I know most of the readers are familiar with in Luke 15:11-24. The younger son had asked for his part of his father’s estates and squandered it recklessly to the last centavo until poverty and hunger caught up with him. That was when he remembered his father and decided to return home. COMING HOME!! What could have been his feeling as he stumbled his way to his father’s place? Could he muster the courage to face the man he abandoned? And, if you were the father, what would be your reaction upon seeing your child in such a sordid mess?
I can hardly approximate the father’s feelings but by God’s grace, based on Luke’s narrative and other parts of the Scriptures, I have written here in homespun language what could have transpired in the father’s heart and mind as he spent the days waiting for the return of his prodigal son:
My son, I have been waiting for you. And I’ll keep on waiting until you decide to come home. Everything is now ready for your return. I have prepared a wardrobe of finest clothes fit for kings, and when that time comes, I will throw the most lavish welcome party our friends and neighbours will ever see.
Everyday, I fix my eyes on the road for I want to run to meet you while you are still afar off. How I long to give you my tightest embrace! And while I dry the tears in your eyes, I will declare for all the world to know and hear that I am for you and not against you.
With a father’s heart fraught with yearning for a long, lost child, I want to assure you that I’m not counting your sins. I have forgotten your transgressions and I will remember them no more. Know that I have the best plans for your life – all because I love you with a love that won’t let go of you.
Come home, my child. Just come home. I, your father, am waiting.
THIS IS THE GOOD LIFE: that no matter how far we have run from God, no matter how much filth we have covered ourselves with, no matter how broken and useless we are, He is still patiently waiting for us to come home. May we love to come home to Him.