The Prodigal Father – By Thomas Koester

There was a man who had two young sons and was living a very busy life. One day, the father said to his family:

“I’m leaving for a job in Europe. This is a once in a lifetime career opportunity I’ve been working so hard for! I’ll be gone for a month, but will send for you to join me.”

Not long after the father had set off for Europe, he met a young woman and began squandering his wealth on wild living. After he had spent everything he had, the woman he had met, and the friends he’d made, all left him, high and dry. Suddenly and almost at the same time, the stock market plunged to a record low, causing him to lose his dream job. With no employer sponsoring him, and his work visa expired, he had to hide from the authorities.

Meanwhile, back in the states, the man’s family had grown concerned, as they’ve not heard from him in weeks. The man’s wife had tried his cell phone, but it was disconnected. She tried his office phone, but they said he’d been laid off a few weeks ago.

She tried to console her two young sons, who’d been crying for days for their missing father.

“Was it something that I did to make daddy leave us,” said the younger son? “No,” said the older son, angrily… “He left us because he never loved us or had time for us!” The mother tried to correct her sons, but the younger son ran to his room, slamming the door behind him, while the older son ran outside, and just kept running and running, till he fell to the ground, totally exhausted.

Weeks turned into months and months turned into years. The boys are teenagers now, tall, like their father. And, also like their father, they’ve avoided their house as much as they could, choosing to stay over their friends homes, as Mom was mostly working anyway.

In time, the man’s wife had become very ill. Since he’d left, she’d taken on two jobs and the raising of their sons alone.

During the younger son’s earlier years, he had grown attached to a churchgoing family. One Sunday, while at church, the younger son heard the preacher recite a passage from the bible. “No man can come to the father, except through me.” The preacher explained, “If you want to be with the Father you must go through the son!” At the conclusion of the preacher’s message, he gave an invitation to come to the Father. Suddenly, the younger son found himself being drawn forward, where he surrendered his life to the Son of God. The young boy, not quite understanding the preacher’s message, had thought that going through Jesus would bring him to his lost father. And towards this end, the younger son began to pray every day, without fail for the return of his father.

Now, many years later, the father, still living on the streets in Europe, in squalor and poverty and with no hope, came to his senses.

“Perhaps, I can reach out to my family, they will at least let me live in their garage, and perhaps I can tend to their yard for some food and clothing.” His thoughts continued… “Surely that would be much better than eating garbage, living in cardboard boxes under bridges.”

So, the father begged and begged, panhandled here and there, scrapping and collecting enough money to purchase an oceangoing ticket on a freighter. But alas, no one would sell him a ticket without a passport. So the father, who’d learned to be crafty while on the streets, secretly stowed himself away on a ship heading for the US.

Several weeks later, he arrived and hitched his way back home.

Exhausted and hungry, in rags and worn out shoes, he finds himself staggering down the street where he used to live so many years ago.

While he was still a long way off, a young man looks up while washing his car. His eyes fixed on the old haggard man walking towards him. His heart beating in his throat and tears filling his eyes, as he recognizes that haggard old man as his father! The younger son runs to his father, and catches him in his arms, just before he hits the pavement. He lifts his father up, all the while kissing him, and said: “dad, a preacher told me, when I was lost and alone and missing you so terribly much, that the only way to the father was through the son! And since then, I’ve not stopped praying for your safe return home.”

“Son,” the father begins… “Dad”, the son stops his father; “all is forgiven; all that remains is that mom and I still love you;’ “there’s nothing you need to say. I have the best room in our house all made up for you, just the way you’d like it. Come, live with me and I will be your son, and you will be my father, who was lost and now he’s found; was dead and now he lives!”

“What about your older brother”, asks the father? “Dad, he’s homeless and very angry. I have been praying for him too.” “Let’s get you cleaned up and we’ll introduce him to the Father, through the Son also.”

” Yes, if you forgive others for their sins, your Father in heaven will also forgive you for your sins. But if you don’t forgive others, your Father in heaven will not forgive your sins.” – The Rabbi, Jesus of Nazareth – Matthew 6:14-14 (NVC)

“Whoever does not believe in the Son does not have the Father, but whoever accepts the Son has the Father too.” – The Apostle John – 1 John 2:23 (ERV)

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