Two nights ago, I had the most harrowing nightmare. My daughter-in-law and I had been out shopping with our children, which included my 10-year-old daughter and my three granddaughters, ages three, five, and eight. When my dream started, our little girls had just disappeared!
Kate and I began frantically searching all around the little town, calling out their names at every turn. Suddenly, Kate’s faithful dog appeared, hearing our voices. Chomper had apparently been looking for the girls, too, but someone had cruelly covered his whole head with duct tape! They left his eyes and mouth uncovered, but taped his ears down so he couldn’t hear. Who would do this to a beloved, family pet?
Kate and I meticulously pulled the tape off poor Chomper, which left painful red and purple streaks. We noticed long, blond strands of hair stuck to the tape: Chomper had certainly been with our girls before he was attacked and separated from our little ones! It was as if someone had done this to the dog precisely to impede his ability to find our missing children.
Kate, Chomper and I ran into an abandoned building, still calling out the girls’ names. Kate and I couldn’t keep the tears away as our minds raced with the possibilities of what could be happening to our precious children / grandchildren. Did someone kidnap them? Were they hurt, or worse? We prayed out loud, in between calling their names:
“JESUS, please help us find our little girls!”
Suddenly, coming from a floor vent we stumbled upon, we heard the faint sound of children’s laughter and talking.
We shouted down the vent, “Jaycie! Kyra! Is that you??”
Before Kate and I could figure out how to get down to our daughters, all four little angels climbed up through a back door and emerged into the room we were in. Kate and I embraced our darlings, kissing and hugging their sweet faces, unable to hold back the sobs and tears now.
The girls were dripping with sweat, and very thirsty and hungry. They said they “ran off” because they wanted to have fun, exploring inside what appeared to be an abandoned casino, where we’d found them. We shuddered at the thought of what could have happened to the girls, and especially if it had taken longer to locate them.
We also still wondered who had treated dear Chomper so maliciously, trying to keep him from what he does best — protecting his family.
I woke up at that instant, still crying and thanking God, as I’d been doing in my dream.
The emotional trauma of that moment triggered a hot flash that kept me awake for at least half an hour. I laid there in a sweat, as the reality of the dream dawned on me. I knew that God was trying to illustrate something important, and not just to me, but to all His “wayward children”.
I recalled the story of the prodigal son who left the home of his father, to “have fun”.
He wasted all the money his father had given him, spending it on partying and women, then ended up penniless and hungry. Literally, he was taking care of someone’s pigs, and wishing he had even the food that the pigs had, since he was about to starve.
If you know the story, you’ll recall that he finally “came to his senses”, and decided to go home. He was hoping that his dad would possibly just give him a job, treating him as a “hired servant”. He was ashamed of what he’d done, and didn’t dare expect to ever be accepted as “part of the family” again, after his selfish, shameful acts. The son had even demanded that his father go ahead and give him his “inheritance” before he left, not waiting until his father died to expect it. It was if he were saying, “Go ahead and die, dad, so I can have your money.”
I love how this family drama concluded, however. Like Kate and me in my dream, this boy’s father was searching for his “lost son” ever since he left. When the young man was still “a long distance” from his father’s property, the Bible says that his dad was looking for him. When the father saw his son from afar, it says that he was “filled with compassion” and ran to his son, embracing him and kissing him over and over again. With tears of joy, he exclaimed, “My son, which was dead is now alive, and he who was lost is now found!”
The son then erupted with the humble confession he’d rehearsed before coming home.
The son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” (See the account in Luke 15: 11-22)
Elated and thankful for (undoubtedly) this answer to many prayers, the father threw a big celebration party to welcome his son home. He put a new robe on him and a ring on his finger, signifying that he was a beloved son, and not just a slave or hired hand. He was illustrating his overwhelming, forgiving love for his child. This favor and blessing and gushing of joyful emotion demonstrated just how merciful this father was! No matter what sins and offenses his son had committed, he was instantly forgiven when he came back home.
His heart had changed, softening from the harsh realities of living in sin. He ached, not just in his empty stomach, but in his empty heart, which he’d filled with greed and lust and hard living. He had shunned and taken for granted the very ones who loved him most, his family. Confessing his wrongdoing was the beginning of the change. However, repenting of it (actually turning away from the way he’d been living, like a 180 degree about-face) made a new beginning possible.
If you’re a parent, you understand my sentiment of not being able to sleep well while your children are still out. While they’re out working or having fun, parents are restless and leaving the porch light on.
All the more, a parent’s heart is unsettled when a child (no matter how old they are) is not only far from home, but (particularly) far from their loving Creator. God loves us SO much more than any earthly parent can, as I’ve only begun to understand, after becoming a parent (and grandparent), myself. This momma’s prayers are for all my “prodigals” to come back to the God Who loves them, Who waits for them, watching longingly down the road for their return.
[bctt tweet=”My most fervent prayers are for my kids 2 come back 2 the God Who loves them & waits for them. #inspiringhopeblog” username=”becky_wright”]
How can I pray for YOU? Leave a comment below and share as you feel led.