My oldest son came home from college last weekend. For me, his mom, it felt like Christmas! I cleaned the house, bought extra food (he’s 6-foot-1, folks!), and prepared a quiet place for him to sleep near his brothers.
My heart, which felt such utter loss and lack when he left for school five weeks ago, now filled with joy as I anticipated his return. I couldn't wait to talk to him, to hear how his new life was unfolding, to celebrate his growth.
As the day of his arrival drew near, I became almost restless waiting for him, like a child waiting for Christmas morning. Everything was ready; I longed to spring into action, to make the drive to pick him up, to hold him in my arms again. The appointed time could not come fast enough!
When at last that moment arrived and my boy was home, it was as if a hole in my heart had been filled. All was well again. Everything about him – the new growth in his beard, his manly smell, even the overstuffed bag of dirty laundry he brought with him made me happy and complete!
I am mom. He’s my boy. He’s back home.
When I woke up the next morning, just the thought of him being here stirred me. I couldn’t wait to jump out of bed and embrace him, to see his face and hear his voice, this one who has been such a part of me!
Before I did, though, I wanted some quiet time with the Lord. Here is what I heard Him whisper:
"This is how I feel about you."
Suddenly, it was as if all the emotions surging in my heart for my son found expression in the heart of the Father. I realized experientially: there is no greater joy for a parent, human or divine, than to hear their child say, “I’m coming home. I want to be with you. At this moment, I choose you.”
In this one "snapshot" of my son’s return, I saw the joy of the Father when a prodigal returns. The utter contentment when a child simply comes and sits near you, to be with you. The parental longing that comes not from a selfish need, but a rejoicing in whatever time your child willfully shares with you.
Oh, how wonderful our Father must feel when we say, “Daddy, I’m coming home! I want to spend time with you today!”
As I reflected on this, I heard God whisper more:
"Do you feel this way about Me?"
This time, God turned the scenario around.
*Do you make yourself ready, prepare yourself for HIS coming, anticipate with joy the fullness and contentment He will bring when He comes to dwell with you as promised? (See John 14.)
*Do you yearn to embrace Him, long to abide with Him again, allow Him to make His Presence known in your humble home?
*Do you seek His companionship daily with as much love and anticipation as you would welcome your own children?
Is God welcome in your home?
It is parents who meet the needs of their children, not the other way around. Nevertheless, a parent is deeply satisfied when a child they have created and nurtured returns freely to them. Such joy! In the same way, we are called to return to Father and embrace Him, make room for Him in our lives.
It is a wise and discerning child who recognizes his need for the counsel of a father. As God’s children, we will never outgrow that need. By virtue of age and precedence, our Father will always have more experience and more wisdom than we.
Should not the Ancient of Days be worthy of our audience?
Should not He who created not just us, but all things, be honored above all counselors?
My son’s return taught me this: Prayer is an advent, a journey of coming home to the One who knows us and understands all things, who loves us with inexpressible love and longing. And our quiet times with God can be as rich as Christmas morning – full of the wonderful feelings of joy, belonging, and gift-giving that empower us to go forth boldly again, knowing we are inestimably loved.
God is Father. You’re His beloved child. Welcome home.
© Deborah Perkins / www.HisInscriptions.com. Image Credit: Jude Beck from Unsplash.
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A severe hearing loss from childhood caused Deborah Perkins to develop what she now calls her secret weapon: tuning in to God's voice. A Wellesley College graduate and an award-winning writer, Deborah is now a wife and mother of 3 boys. Deborah has devoted over 25 years to professional and lay Christian ministry in New England and beyond. Her passion is inspiring people to cultivate greater intimacy with God.