We are all familiar to some degree with the story of the “Prodigal Son.”
“…the younger son gathered all together and took his journey into a far country…” Luke 15:30.
The biblical account gives the details of this young man in Luke 15:13-24. I am sure that we all have heard sermons about this foolish young man who finally came to his senses and returned to his father. The biblical account shares the sorrow of the father and also how his son eventually came back and received his father’s forgiveness. Later in the Book of Luke, we learn some things about the brother of the prodigal son and how he saw his younger brother. This is a family story with a wonderful application for different members of a family. What is not shared in this account is the heart of the mother of this young man.
Our Prodigal Son
I can definitely identify with this side of the story. We do not know how this affected his mom or if she was even alive when this happened. Since the story of this young man follows a parable, we can assume that this story also is a parable and this is why a lot of other details were not mentioned. However, in real life we know that children do grow up and leave home under not the best of circumstances. This is what happened in our home.
As church planters in upstate New York, we raised our three children to love and serve the Lord Jesus Christ. All three of them made professions of faith while they were still young. They went to Christian school, a Bible-teaching church, and regular youth group activities. Our daughters embraced our biblical teachings while in our home and usually obeyed. Our only son seemed to also obey until he went off to college (a Christian university).
During his second semester, late in the middle of the night, we received that dreaded phone call from the university telling us that our son had been arrested in a drug bust. Our hearts were crushed and almost broken. Tears welled up in our eyes. How could this be? What happened? This was obviously a mistake!
The Downward Spiral
However, to our dismay, it was true and just the beginning of his downward spiral. Our only son “journeyed to a far country” and went deeper into the world of drugs and guns. He left our home and would have nothing to do with us. There were times when we did not know if he was dead or alive and this went on for years.
That late night phone call was just the beginning of a 10-year struggle for us to turn our son over to the Lord so that he could truly obey the God of our salvation. As his mom, I cried and prayed then prayed and cried and finally came to the conclusion that my son did not know the Lord and needed to be saved. Once I accepted this, it was easier for me to live and not feel so guilty or hurt so deeply.
Our only son was in and out of jail and prison for over 10 years before he finally “came to himself” as the prodigal son did in Luke 15:17. When he did come back, he shared with us that he knew that he was definitely saved all this time because “God would not let me go.” He was miserable with his life in the far country, but was still bent on living life his way. Those terrible years were because of choices that he had made and not because he did not know any better or had not been taught the right way.
The Rest of the Story
This story has not ended yet but our son is now living for the Lord, teaching teens in his local church, and being a positive role model for his son. The Lord was faithful to our prayers and returned our son to his senses and to us. He now has a wonderful testimony, which he shares with other young people weekly. Our God is faithful and always does what is best for us and our children. We can now minister to others whose children may be in a far country and give them hope of what God can do when we trust Him and wait on Him.