I was sorting through old files today and came upon this letter I wrote over five years ago. I could have written it yesterday, as we are in that place of waiting for wandering sheep to come home again….so here’s a letter from the end of 2012- it still sums up so well what it means to stay rooted and waiting in the same place so that people may always come home.
*How do you communicate the love of God to those around you? How do you respond when people make bad choices or make mistakes? What do you do when kids walk away?
Every single day, I ask God to help me be a communicator of the love of God in the world. Lots of times my directions are simple. God’s mother heart bestows lots of hugs and cooks meals, bakes treats, cheers at games, helps write papers…all actions that say, ”You are important. You are worthwhile. I do this for you because you matter.” And hopefully, that love and attention help people begin to notice those things come from the greater Source of all Love.
But it is so hard when, after days, weeks, months, years of sharing the love found in Christ Jesus and trying to help young people know and experience love and truth themselves, they lose interest, choose other pursuits or spurn the love that is offered by us. Once in awhile, kids disappear because they have screwed up and they feel ashamed. That one’s not so hard…who among us can cast the first stone? A few persistent invitations, a little space, sometimes a clearing of the air or a modeling on apology, forgiveness and reconciliation are often enough to restore our connection. But, sometimes, the space is real and definitely chosen. We are often identified with “God stuff” and a decision to separate from us can also signal what is really a choice to head out to see what the world offers instead of a life with God.
And really, aren’t there lots of grown-ups who have gone the same way? There is a time of growing in the love of God, but then we hear the call of power, money, influence, sex, success, etc. and we see if we can attain our share of all that and our paying attention to the still, small voice that calls us to our true home gets lost or drowned out. Sometimes the cares of the world, fear, and what feels like the fight to survive, can choke out the light and life that has come alive in us and we become lost, if even for just a little while.
There are people both young and old wandering in the wilderness. The prodigal-wilderness can fill an hour, a day, the time it takes to spend the inheritance or forty years. But the Father is always home, waiting, watching, in a place so near that we can be there instantly, just ready for the moment that we turn and listen to the voice of love.
Fear took hold of me today and I spent some moments in the wilderness. But I have learned through many years and much wrestling, that what is truly Real is always so much bigger than the things that make me afraid and I can return home where I live and move and have my being in Christ, where everything is ok, come what may. My true home is in the heart of Jesus and no place can be better. So, I understand the wandering and the wilderness and right along with the One who loves them best, I watch and wait and keep the porch light on for my wandering friends, hoping and praying that their time in the wilderness will be of short duration and that they will come on home so we can all have a party and enjoy being fully alive together.
Please pray that we would have wisdom in signaling the porch light is burning. That is often a much trickier exercise than getting to do straight-out-hands-on loving in Christ. We appreciate your prayers for our family and ministry. While costs are ever increasing, our funding is not, but we are trusting that as God calls, God will also provide. It is the season when we reflect with gratitude upon the persons who have chosen to support us financially in the past year….*
And, God continues to provide and we are grateful for your prayers, gifts and love offered to Christ on our behalf. May God’s peace and joy be yours.