A few days ago I wandered from that straight and narrow path into the wilderness.
I’ve wandered down the wrong path before – have we not all? – and each time, in the end, I would come back to my Father’s feet and plead forgiveness and mercy. Every time, just as the father of the prodigal son, He welcomed me back in open arms and wiped away my tears.
This time I wandered away, perhaps intentionally. And in the wilderness, my heart broke. Once again, I have done wrong. Once again, I have left my Father’s house, knowing full well that I would break His heart. I have fallen so many times. So many times I have left and returned, and asked for His grace and mercy. How could I do so again? How could I return, knowing full well that in time, I will only wander off and disappoint once more, twice more, thrice?
I have a proud, hard heart. And in that wilderness, my broken heart was hardened. I told myself that I could not bear to disappoint again. How could I beg the forgiveness of which I was so utterly unworthy, again and again? I was ashamed, and hid in my shame. The harsh winds of the wilderness cut my cheeks, the sands coated my throat. I was weary, painful, broken. And, in such terrible pride, I told myself I deserved it. So be my fate, I cried to the empty skies.
My Father did not await me at the golden gates of His house like that father of the prodigal son. He came looking for me. He came into the wilderness, calling my name. And He found me, huddled in the midst of pride and weariness and anguish. He knelt beside me, comforting me with soft words, and gently – oh so gently – wiped away my tears. He held me close, caressing my scars that they be healed. And he said to me, “Come, child, let us go home.”
My Father’s grace was not so much in that He granted forgiveness when I finally swallowed my pride and came to His temple pleading for mercy. My Father’s grace was in that He came out into the wilderness seeking me when my heart was hardened and I would not return.