Monday, November 29, 2010

Another prodigal story

I wrote this several months ago. Today I finally have the courage to share it. I think after reading Michelle Weibe's of story in her blog, I let go of some of my fears of what others think. I believe that because our family has been through so much, we can show that much more love to those going through similar circumstances.

This may be one of my most personal blog posts ever! Watch out! Do Not continue reading if you are not a fan of emotional stories. If you dare go further you may find a thing or two out about me...

I want to begin with an example from the Bible. This is from Luke 15:11-24

"11 To illustrate the point further, Jesus told them this story: “A man had two sons. 12 The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.’ So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons.13 “A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living. 14 About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve. 15 He persuaded a local farmer to hire him, and the man sent him into his fields to feed the pigs. 16 The young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything.17 “When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! 18 I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you,19 and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”’20 “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.21 His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.t22 “But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. 23 And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, 24 for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began."

I think that is one of the best verses in the Bible there in verse 20 it says "and while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him" ~it doesn't say he waited inside the house to beat his butt for ruining his life and his fortune, nor does it say he scolded him angrily and told him to go back to where he came from.... He ran to meet him, hugged him and kissed him and then threw a big party to welcome him home.

Now this story is personal to me this week because my brother came home. I don't think he would mind me telling you just a bit of his story. He was in rehab for over a year. He is my baby brother. He's only 22 and already been in and out of rehab a couple of times. We nearly lost him this time last year. Last Thanksgiving we weren't sure if he would live or die. This Thanksgiving we were sure that he like the prodigal in the parable was dead but has returned to life! I can't explain to you all the emotions I felt over the past few weeks. There are so many of them jumbled up. Joy, pain, sadness, excitement, worry, fear, regret, heartache, relief, happiness, I mean that is just a few that I can express and they were all jumbled up at all different times.

I am so Thankful that our story worked out this way! I know many families who haven't been so lucky. Their stories end in a very different way. Unfortunately it seems to be an epidemic lately that isn't going away. I don't have enough room to tell you the whole story or to explain all the details you may be wondering about. It isn't about those heartwrenching details anyway. This is about the joy of welcoming someone you love home, who has been gone, and has made mistakes, yes, but how we can choose to show love and grace instead of anger and bittereness and resentment. The rest of that parable is a warning if you want to read on. I hope I never judge anyone the way the brother does in the rest of that story. I was once a prodigal myself, and hope that before I ever judge anyone I will remember how much my God has forgiven me.

Now more than six months later, I have so many good stories to share about my brother. He is now working full time for the ministry that helped him recover. He is in fact on tour with them this week seeing New England. Telling us that he is amazed to see how God is moving when they share their stories. Teen Challenge is a wonderful ministry and anyone who loves some one struggling with addiction, I'd highly recommend checking out this program. I know that God put them in our lives at the appointed time to save my brother's life. I'm so thankful he is now sharing his story and changing peoples lives for the better!

Andrew is his name.... Pray for him. I'm sure all the extra encouragement is greatly needed!

May grace, peace, hope, love and faith find you where you are today and may Christ be the light that shows you the way....