EL CAJON, Calif. (BP)–One night on a rampage, Howard Cadle pulled a gun on a man. He squeezed the trigger, but it wouldn’t fire. It was 8 o’clock — the time his mother always prayed for him. Later, sick and penniless, he dragged himself home and said, “Mother, I’ve broken your heart. I’d like to be saved, but I’ve sinned too much.”
“Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow” his mom read from Isaiah 1:18. He gave himself to Jesus Christ and became one of America’s first great radio evangelists.
Are you on a long winding road, leading you away from heaven, hope and happiness? Is someone praying for you right now?
Jesus told a story about a young man who rebelled against his father and stormed from home, taking his inheritance with him (Luke 15). He squandered his money on parties and prostitutes, and then found a job slopping hogs.
But eventually, Jesus said, the man came to his senses. Have you ever been hypnotized by the world, unable to think clearly, unwilling to feel and receive God’s love? Our young friend decided to return home, confess his foolishness, and become as a hired servant to his family.
Tired and dirty, the man limped home. Running to meet him was his waiting father who hugged his long-lost son, showering him with forgiving kisses.
Perhaps you’ve fallen into an ungodly lifestyle, and it seems such a long way back from the far country. But the heavenly Father is near at hand, beckoning you by His grace, and eager for your return. When you recognize you’re estranged from God by your own choices, that wonderful “coming to yourself” brings you back to the Father very quickly.
He not only welcomes us back home, but He comes searching for us when we’re gone. Luke 15 says that He looks for us like a father yearning for a missing son. He is a loving, searching, forgiving restoring God.
Sometimes we’ve painted God as someone who sits in heaven with a big stick, waiting to hit us when we do wrong. But God’s love has no limits, and His grace awaits each of us no matter what we’ve done. If you’ve been in the far country, I urge you to come home.
In 1850 while traveling in the West, a new Christian named John Vassar (who had given up his family fortune in beer to sell Christian literature) visited the home of a praying wife whose husband was an infidel. She begged for a Bible, which Vassar gave her. Coming home, her husband saw it and was enraged. Seizing the Bible with one hand and an ax with the other, he hurried to the chopping block and hacked it crosswise in two. He threw half of the destroyed Bible at his wife, saying, “As you claim a part of all the property around here, there is your share of this.”
The other half he tossed into his tool shed.
Months later on a wet winter’s day, the man retreated to his shed. In boredom he looked around for something to read. Thumbing through the mutilated Bible, his attention was caught by the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15. He became absorbed in the parable only to discover that its ending belonged to his wife’s section.
He secretly searched the house, but finally broke down and asked for his wife’s part of the story, reading it again and again. In the process, he came to the heavenly Father like a penitent prodigal returning home.
God is so creative in His methods of bringing us to our senses and of bringing us to His Son! Even now, He is ordering the circumstances of your life to bring you back to Himself. He is waiting, looking, longing for you to return home.
The Lord is saying to you, “Come now, and let us reason together. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18). As we discover the warm embrace of our Savior’s arms, we realize afresh that there is no place like home.
David Jeremiah is the founder of Turning Point for God, senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, Calif., and chancellor of San Diego Christian College (formerly Christian Heritage College). For more information on Turning Point, visit www.TurningPointOnline.org.