“I’ve missed you!” My pastor said as I walked towards her in church, “Not missed you missed you but really really missed you” she continued, by this time my face had formed a huge smile “but I’ve only been away for a couple of days” I said, “it doesn’t matter, I’m glad to have you back, welcome back darling” she replied.
That was the interaction between my pastor and I a couple of Wednesdays back in church, I had been away and couldn’t attend some programs the previous week, I stayed away because of some personal issues and I wasn’t ready to share it with anyone, I was down in my spirit and just not in the mood, I know I should have been in church those days but I didn’t want to. While I was away, I wasn’t praying either, I was mad at God and His timing too. So when I walked into church that day, I was still emotionally drained but my pastor’s reception made a difference, I felt like God was the one saying to me “I’ve missed you!, I’m glad to have you back!, welcome back darling!”.
This of course made me think of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32), it is a parable on redemption; a man had two sons and the younger one was foolish, he squanders his inheritance and becomes a servant with a degrading job, he had a moment where he decided to return home, upon his return home his father treats him with more generosity than he deserved. Growing up and listening to many sermons about the prodigal son, I was content with what I assumed the parable was about; helping unbelievers realize the mistakes they’ve made and nudging them to take a step back towards God.
But it doesn’t end there, while my story wasn’t as dramatic as that of the prodigal son, there was something I had in common with him; firstly I was separated from God for a week, I didn’t go to church neither did I pray at home, I isolated myself, the prodigal son was separated from his father as well, he left home, cut off all communication and isolated himself from his family. Secondly the reception he got from his father when he returned home must have overwhelmed him, the reception I got from my pastor was so sweet and reassuring.
The point I’m trying to make is that at one point or the other even as believers we will be able to relate with the story of the prodigal son, (if we are being honest )and just like he needed his father’s warm embrace, we will need to be reassured that we are loved and will always be welcomed back into God’s fold.
I’d share my favorite bible verse from the story of the prodigal son, hopefully if you’ve been separated or if in the future you’re separated from God, you know it’s ok to return to Him.
Luke 15:20 (TPT)
“So the young son set off for home. From a long distance away, his father saw him coming, dressed as a beggar, and great compassion swelled up in his heart for his son who was returning home. So the father raced out to meet him. He swept him up in his arms, hugged him dearly, and kissed him over and over with tender love”.