WE TALKED WITH CRITTER TODAY!
He is doing great! We immediately sensed something in his voice and in his heart...gratitude. Gratitude for love. Our love for him and Jesus' love for him. He shared almost the whole conversation about his burden for some of his fellow students. He knows that they are all there because they have needs, including him, but he recognized that their biggest need was Jesus. He understood he has been poured into and is accountable now to share his treasure - Jesus - with those who he shares his life with. This may sound "churchy" to you but you need to remember this isn't our "churchy" child. He told us that he has shared more about Jesus since he has been there than he has ever done in his home environments.
We suddenly had no trouble picturing Luke 15 and the story of the prodigal son. Only the part that we have known all too well - where the son wastes all that has been given to him and that he is an heir to -is not the part we are getting to see. v20 says that, "while he was a long way off, his father saw him.." The words "long way off" here means that he had his face set homeward- although he has sinned, he is heading toward his father. We sensed that Critter is heading toward his Father. We are steadfast in our position of waiting for him and looking with God's eyes as He sees what He is doing in the heart of our son. The Father of this passage has clearly looked this way many times and only seen through tears of waiting and anticipated the day he would catch a glimpse of his son coming toward him, coming home. We have come to know those tears but there is more.
"His father saw him" is such a rich way to describe what happened! The word "saw" here means more than just the eye doing its job..it is the first glimpse of grace. As a parent, maybe you are standing here with us as we wait for our children to head toward Jesus. Maybe your tween or teen has started to rebel - either by outward displays or inward indifference and lack of passion - and you are looking all over their lives for a glimpse of grace - to "see" Jesus in them. The cool thing here is the word "saw" here. This "saw" means perceived and discerned and cherishes. The Father discerns that the son has a rough go of things, even if he has brought it on himself. Maybe the son is thin and dirty and his clothes are tattered.The Father perceives that the son is coming back home to him. He senses that this son is drawn back by their relationship-by his father's love. The father cherishes the son and runs TOWARD him and showers him with kisses and hugs and displays of his love. That is the good news - Jesus runs to us, to the prodigal! The father does all this outside, for all to see. He doesn't care what the neighbors or his fellow synagogue members think- his son was lost and now he is found! I get this part!
It is hard to ask you to pray for my son as he is in a residential treatment program. By definition, you can assume I have failed as a parent. You can judge decisions we have made. You can suggest that you "saw it coming." You may sense our heartbreak and pain and secretly identify with it as you are hurting with one of your children. I don't know. I do know that tonight, we get v 20! And the view here, as we get a glimpse of grace, is amazing! Jesus is running toward your prodigal, too! How do I know? ...because the Bible tells me so!