Prodigal Coming Home

prodigal son hugging his father

It is now week four in my post-cigarette world, dear readers, and LIFE is rising!  Turns out, joy does exist without tobacco – who knew?!  Well, here I am on the other side of one giant Cross, and I now know two things that I didn’t before.  One, quite a few of my fellow Jesus freaks used to smoke.  (God bless you all for your encouragement and love and prayers!  It’s a powerful gift to be reminded from time to time that Jesus came for the sick – and I’m not the only leper in the colony.)  And two, God really does shine most powerfully when I am at my absolute weakest – and honest about it.

Brother Lawrence:
“During the first ten years . . . I worried that my walk with the Lord wasn’t good enough.  Because I couldn’t forget my past sins, I felt very guilty when I thought of all the grace He had shown me.  During that time, I used to fall often and then get up again.  It seemed that everything – even God – was against me and that only faith was on my side.  Sometimes I believed I felt this way because I was trying to show, at the beginning of my walk, the same maturity it had taken other Christians years to achieve.”

I ever believe the accusation of Satan (and my own pride) that says, “You’re the only one who struggles.  Nobody else likes the things they shouldn’t.  If anyone ever sees how needy you really are, they’ll be repulsed and reject you outright.”  Well, I’ve just lived through one of my biggest fears, and it was all smoke and mirrors.  I have never been more incapable of putting on a good face than in the last month.  I have been completely unable to “pull myself up by my bootstraps” and get it together.  I have been weak and unlovable and totally vulnerable.  And I have met the most incredible love at every turn.

I’ve experienced – as never before – the depth and power of God’s love.  And I was brought so fully to the end of my rope that I KNOW, beyond any shadow of doubt, that I did nothing to deserve it.  I wasn’t funny or charming or kind or loving or even sympathetic.  No trickery, no lies, nothing that could possibly account for kindness, let alone love.  He was there, though I couldn’t feel Him.  His love shone out of many different people, ever girding and healing me.

I know better now how the  prodigal coming home felt when, despite the unmitigated foulness of his person, his father grabbed him in a fierce hug and held him.  It’s the unbearable warmth and tenderness of unconditional love – most powerful force in the universe.

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    • Susan

      Let the high praises of God be in our mouth for what He has done! Yeah Jen, you did your part and always faithful, He did His. None of us have it together 🙂 that’s why we need Him desperately! Thanks for the great report.
      Your fellow freaky sist’a.

    • Sam

      Love words cannot convey. “Love” is such a little, insignificant, puny, small, little, pufffff word, totally insufficient to define Love.

      Once caught up in the stream of Love -as Jen and John have been speaking out tirelessly for some weeks- faults, shortcomings, sins, smokes (and charmings) live INSIDE the hands of Love.

      Needed: Vision to see this Love! Reading Jen in her crucible, made me seriously meditate on the Cross as the very provider of that Vision. I believe the Lord of All Creation had to attach Himself somehow to that Vision while on His flesh days… and His sole Vision was the Cross. That was our Lord’s calling while on earth. He came to “die”, not to “live.”

      I believe we will some day see and get that sufferings (when placed in their due place, which is Jesus Christ) while in our flesh meant a HUGE opportunity not only to SEE God, but to be actually be changed unto Him. The Cross has something in it that makes you touch Heavens with your own hands.

      Jen, you are not the only leper in the neighborhood, but the Cross makes the way so VERY personal (becouse it is YOU there), that it seems so.

      I also feel like that so many times.

    • Tina

      Indeed the cross is not fun. I love how many are stepping out from behind the facades, being real, being vulnerable and learning how to be gracious with each other in their dying process. When in the midst of it it sure feels shameful and a cause for rejection and yes, love is the unity in Christ that will make His bride one.
      “Love bears all things, believes all things, endures all things…now abide these three, faith, hope and love but the great of these is love” I Cor. 13

    • Pauline

      To be held by Father and encouraged by other lovers of the Bridegroom–that is priceless! Thanks, Jen, for sharing the not-so-pretty that captured His loveliness…Bless you!

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