"This son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found. Then the celebration began."
It was a rainy cold evening. Kevin was searching through his contacts on his phone. He was looking for the person who supplies his habit. He just got the inheritence check from his father and was eager to spend the money. He finally found it, texted him and met up to exchange money for drugs. This time the high lasted just a short few hours as compared to last time. He was unsure of what exactly happened this time, as he had lost memory of the last few hours. He thought to himself "I can't do this anymore. This has to stop, but I don't know how to do it?" Kevin felt awful. He wondered how he had ended up in this cycle of buying and using drugs. He wanted to fix it. He wanted to get free from the addictions, but was unsure of how to do that. He attended many NA meetings but that never seemed to help. He walked downtown and headed to the local bodega. He needed something cold to drink. He was near the register and saw a picture on the magazine rack. It was a picture of a dad with his two kids. They appeared to be having a good time, happy and hugging one another. The title of the magazine said "How to get the most of Fatherhood." Kevin remembered how he left home after the fight he had with his dad. That was years ago. Overwhelmed with emotions of anger and dissapointment, Kevin left the store without buying anything.
Some of us may be able to identify with Kevin's story and some of us may not. But we can all identify with struggles. With pain and trials that seem so difficult to bear. Whether we know it or not, we all need healing. We tend to cope with things in our lives by engaging in behaviors that may no be in our best interest. By doing this, we seperate ourselves from the love that we are made for. If we did not experience love growing up, we are not going to know that there is a God that loves us. We learn about this love from the love of our parents. Sin gets in the way from knowing this love. We distract because we don't want to feel. It may be hard to face things from our past or to feel the pain of the loss of someone or witnessing a truama. But when we work through the emotional pain, our lives take on new meaning and we are able to live in joy. We don't have to go through this alone. God is the one who can help get through the difficult times. The one who knows suffering the most is Jesus. He healed many people two millenia ago and continues to heal even in today's modern world.
Kevin's story is the modern day story of the prodigal son in the bible. We find it in Luke, chater 15, verses 11-32. The prodigal son story is one of mercy and compassion. It is where a son becomes greedy. Takes the money that was given to him by his father from the family's property and goes into town to use it on frivilous things. He realizes that he has no money left and needs to eat. He has sorrow in his heart for his actions and wonders if his father will ever forgive him and take him back. The story ends with forgiveness. The dad is over joyed that he returns and tells his servants to prepare a feast because his son has returned. The father in this story is a parable that teaches us of God the Father and His heart. It tells how overjoyed He is when one of his sons or daughters has returned to Him. This story shows how much God loves us, that he reaches out to us all the time asking us to come back to Him.
How many of us have done what the prodigal son did? How many of us avoid God because we feel that we have made so many bad decisions that He would think badly of us? The thing is, when we sin, we allow the enemy to feed us lies. One of the biggest lie that devil tells us is, that God is not a good father. But, He is. God is an awesome Father and He is very merciful, kind and compassionate. He is just like the father in the parable of the prodigal son.
We are now in the fourth week of Lent. There are still two and half weeks left of this season. This is the time in the church for repentence, for reconcilation, for a turning back to God. The word Repentence means to "turn around." It means to turn away from the sin that enslaves us, and to turn to God who can help us get out of the slavery of sin. It is a wound that needs to be healed, and the only way to heal it is to bring it to the surface; to bring it before God. All you have to do is ask Him to help. God made us for relationships (with Him and other people). When our relationships are filled with anger, resentment, division, judgement and envy, we feel awful, depressed, lonely and hopeless. God is always ready to take us back. He waits patiently for months, years, and decades. Coming back to Him, allows us to live in joy with Him and other people.
In Conclusion - It is never too late to come back to God or His Church. You are always welcomed back. His mercy is greater than your sin. Greater the sin, greater the grace (God's life within you). He knows what is in your heart and He wants a relationship with you. Now is the time to come back. If you think you are like the prodigal son, don't worry, God is waiting for you. He is a good, good Father!
About the Authour: Donna L. Marotto is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, a Faith Formation Coordinator/Youth Minister and Lay Franciscan. Her book Love Changes Everything can be found on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. If you would like her to speak or give a retreat at your church/event contact her on her website at Youarelovedministry.com or email - email@example.com.