The Return: "My Prodigals Want to Come Home"
There's been something I've been sensing within the last month especially that I haven't felt in many years. It's something I've been waiting for - the Holy Spirit's movement on His people. His subtle outpouring seems to be increasing everyday with a renewal of a hunger to reach the lost increasing dramatically. And in particular, I feel His increased desire for the return of His prodigal sons and daughters to the bosom of His trusted church.
Because of what they've endured, the prodigals are very treasured by the Father and He's been waiting to bring them home until we, the church, are prepared to receive them and fight for them.
The Father told me,
"My prodigals want to come home!"
He said it with such ardency that I was literally undone, because the Father rarely says things with mere words. No, when He speaks, He imparts His heart as
well. And, truly, His heart for the prodigals is overwhelming. I broke down as He let me feel some of the yearning and longing they are experiencing.
However, we have to ask ourselves, "Why has the Father
waited so long to return them to us?" If they are so longing to return, why are they not just returning?
Father shared an in-depth view with me of the story of the prodigal son Jesus shared in the
I saw the prodigal returning home carrying an all-encompassing burden of shame. Indeed, he was at a place of such despair, He was desperate to feel the love of the Father and did not feel worthy to receive
His forgiveness. He was afraid. Afraid, because of an oppressive demonic cloud that covered him as if it owned him.
In the world, he'd tried desperately to fight against this oppression, but got little more than
a moment of relief from it. With its grip inevitably strengthening through pains of disappointment, the prodigal was utterly convinced he was irredeemable, which was the message the demons utilized to hold him captive to
However brief, there were moments when the prodigal would wonder about the Father, most often when he would meet up with a loving Christian who'd been well-seasoned in the love of the Father. Yet, shame
all too often rose up like a blinding barrier reminding him of his past and convincing him, yet again, of the impossibility of his redemption.
I heard the words of lying spirits say things like, "You've
tried that before, they will not except you." or "You are too far gone, God could never love you." On and on the lies continued until he stopped fighting the objections of the enemy and simply let his mind
relax in their seeming truth.
It is an absolute miracle of the Father that the lost have the courage to attempt to return to Him. It's the desperacy of their heart and the longing in their soul that gives
them the strength to come back to God. Love-starved led redemption is incredibly powerful and its strength lies in its fervent humility. Broken to the point of hopelessness, the prodigals have nothing left to loose, and so
they find the courage to return.
Feeling he could not be humiliated any more than he already had, the prodigal son felt he had no other choice but to try to go back home.
On making his way back to his
Father, he recited the appeals for help he would make to him over and over in his mind. Feeling certain the Father could not love him after all his waywardness, he thought, "If I can only be a worker in my Father's
fields, that will be enough for me."
The idea that he deserved to be received back into his Father's loving embrace did not occur to him, but he longed even to be near Him and close to His goodness - to feel the warmth of Him.
After what seemed like an impossible journey, he drew near his Father's home and his resolve began to weaken. Nervousness, hopelessness and fear fought urgently to gain the upper hand in his heart, but his feet keep moving. Closer and closer, he suddenly begins to see off in the distance a bit of a commotion. He tries to focus and understand, but it seems incomprehensible.
Before he can comprehend what's happening, he feels himself stop as he is suddenly wrapped up. Literally, engulfed in powerful arms, he's overwhelmed by strength and feels the familiar scents and senses he'd not felt in sometime.
Like an avalanche of emotion literally thrust upon him, he can scarcely breath. He hears his Father's voice, but can hardly take it all in. The familiar trusted voice is exploding in his mind. "What is he saying?" he tries to reason. "Wait," he questions. "Is He crying?" he asks himself as he senses the convulsing of his Father's body against his. He couldn't be crying, he reasoned. "NO," his mind screams. "I'm unworthy," as he is simply overwhelmed.
Suddenly, the Father grabs his son's shoulders and holds him out at arm's length. He wants to, again, look at his face and take in the return of a dream.
The Father's face now covered in dirty tears, He is overcome with emotion at the sight of His beloved son. Grateful for his courage, the Father looks to assess the immediate needs of His son. Brimming with emotion, there isn't anything He would not do for His son.
Wanting only for the stain of the lost years to be gone, the Father endeavors to draw him back into the fold as quickly and as assuredly as He can. He needs to make the return of His son COMPLETE!
Reestablishing him in all the gifts he'd once possessed, He washes away the smell of shame and fear and replace it with a homecoming of peace and safety - to restore His son's place in His heart.
The prodigal starts to relax as he's able now to accept what is happening to him. The servants begin to take part in the Father's joy as He beckons them to come and see the prize returned to Him. Overjoyed for the Father, they congratulate the prodigal on his return and embrace him as the Father has done.
What a joyous scene!
The endangered lost lamb has been returned to his Father!
The only sadness experienced in this joyous day is the reaction of the prodigal's older brother - the son who did not stray. No, this son stayed by his father's side, didn't he?
Isn't that how the story goes?
Surely, this son was no prodigal. His behavior was exemplary... right?
"The older brother was angry and wouldn't go in. His father came out and begged him, but he
replied, 'All these years I've slaved for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends. Yet when this son of yours comes back after squandering your money on prostitutes, you celebrate by killing the fattened calf!'" Luke 15:28-30
In essence he was saying, "Father, you've forgotten me! This celebration is what I deserve,"
and right there we see it. Can you hear the older brother's waywardness?
No, the older brother did not leave His Father, he stayed in His home. And yet, in his heart he had left. His heart was not ONE with the
Father's heart, it was invaded by a spirit that, although he remained with His Father, had caused his heart to leave Him a long time ago. The demon pride had taken it captive, and he'd forgotten that all that was
his was a gift and not something that had been earned.
Truly, the gifts of the Father bestowed on the older brother had been received not as gifts, but as a deserved payment. The work he'd done was not out of
love, but was something he viewed as slavery.
In his mind, without him realizing it, the older brother had saved himself...
Because of pride, he reasoned that as he had dutifully stayed by his Father's
side and did not leave like his younger brother had, he believed all that the Father possessed was his by right. He felt he'd earned it and the younger brother had not. Indeed, inheritance is not a right, but an
The grace of God, although much embattled as of recent, is still as powerful as ever and its power is unfathomable to our human minds. We cannot possibly understand how the love of the Father's heart
works, we have only to accept it - and enjoy it.
God's love and acceptance is a GIFT. It cannot be earned. Who are we to say (or think) we've earned salvation. "For everyone has sinned; we all fall
short of God's glorious standard" (Romans 3:23 NLT).
Only the humble can rejoice with the Father on the return of His prodigals and it is this precious humility and joy we're beginning to sense entering
into the spirit-realm around us. It is separating the wheat from the chaff.
Much more than an expectation for revival, it has become now a preparation. Indeed, it's a work done in each of our hearts preparing us
to properly receive the prodigals to ourselves - into our arms as we become HIS ARMS extended. It is the passion of the Father's heart we feel now. Can you feel it?
The Pain of Returning
Just think how
the prodigal must have felt when he sensed his brother's animosity toward him - the hatred of the jealousy he felt must have pierced the prodigal's heart with a pang of guilt remembered. It was that old unworthiness
trying to force its way into his mind through his brother's actions, because there was still a part of him that agreed with his older brother. He felt, too, how unworthy and unfair the situation was and shame fought
hard to plant seeds in his mind for future devastation.
It was only in looking at the Father and staring at those all-encompassing eyes of His, that set his heart back toward the peace and safety of acceptance in
Him. He worked to ignore the painful feelings he felt from his older brother's reaction to his return and, again, embrace his Father's love and forgiveness for himself.
Friends, the Father longs to see His
prodigal sons and daughters returned safely to His house and be reunited to their family. We will not truly be whole until they are returned to us. We must prepare our hearts to receive them and love them as He would. They,
as the Father said, want desperately to be accepted and restored. It is the love of the Father that leads them to repentance and wholeness (Romans 2:4) and we are the vessels through which the Father chooses to share His
If we will not allow the prodigals true and total forgiveness and acceptance into the Beloved, then we cannot accept it for ourselves. "If someone says, 'I love God,' but hates a Christian
brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don't love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see?" 1 John 4:20.
"God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives
in them" (1 John 4:16). It is only in loving that we can become more like Him, because He IS love. Since we cannot save a soul or send a soul to hell, we cannot be the judges of humanity. "God alone, who gave the
law, is the Judge. He alone has the power to save or to destroy. So what right do you have to judge your neighbor (or brother)?" (James 4:12 NLT). In truth, what right do we have to judge God's mercy?
is the love, He is the grace and He is the judge. Indeed, we are immensely privileged to serve in His court and administer His precious mercy.
And so we will...
Come all who are weary and heavy laden with the
burden of sin and we, as the Father's family, will receive you - you are one with us.
"When He arrives, He will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, 'Rejoice with me because I have found
my lost sheep.'" Luke 15:7