Prodigal—> A wayward person who returns after a willful absence of spending money or resources recklessly.
I write this article to encourage any Christian parent of a wayward son or daughter. I will keep it as short and simple and to the point as I possibly can.
My oldest son accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior at an early age. He was baptized at the age of 11. Through most of his teen years he loved being involved with the younger children during their children’s church program. Everyone thought that he would pursue a ministry degree and make a career out of working with children. But on a whim he joined the United States Marine Corps shortly after graduating Christian High School. He was stationed across the country in California and upon leaving the Marine Corps be continued to live out in California. I felt a heaviness in my spirit and he was continuously in my prayers. We knew by talking to him that he was no longer living for the Lord, but we were unaware of the terrible downward spiral that he was in.
As the details began to reach us back east, my prayers began to reflect on the Prodigal Son. I was totally yielding to the Holy Spirit and prayed that even if my son had to be dragged through the mud so that he comes to his senses, Lord do It. I began to receive pressure from both sets of grandparents to get him home as quick as possible. But the Holy Spirit was very clear that it was not time yet. Four things had to occur by the hand of God in order to bring him home. He needed a job waiting for him, a place to live during the workweek, a vehicle to get around with, and a plane ticket home. All of these had to come from sources outside his immediate family.
As the months went by, I was continuously in prayer for him. I never shared with anyone what these four requirements were for God’s timing to bring him home. Then almost out of nowhere, four people came to me within days of each other, meeting all four requirements. A true miracle within itself.
He came home on April 23, 2005. Family and friends were literally cleaning him up and making him look presentable for when I pulled up in our driveway from work. The next four months were rocky with their ups and downs. My prayers did not relent. Even though I could now hug and love him, there was a spiritual battle raging over him. Going into the month of August, he was facing two separate DUI charges. He was at his wit’s end.
Then on Sunday August 14, 2005 he ran to the altar at church and recommitted his life to the Lord in a most dramatic way that was evident to all. He remained at the altar with his hands raised for an hour and a half straight. When he walked away there was no doubt of how the Lord grabbed a hold of his life. Two days later he slumped over at the wheel of a work vehicle with two of his workmates at his side. They tried unsuccessfully to revive him. The coroners poured over his blood tests along with the dissection of his heart and brain for six months and could not come to an adequate conclusion of his cause of death. It will remain a mystery here on this Earth. Only his Father in Heaven knows for sure of why He called him up when He did. It was exactly four months to the day from the time that I saw my Prodigal Son come home until the time that I saw his casket being lowered into the ground. I am completely at peace, assured that he is now home with his Heavenly Father and I know that we will be reunited for eternity as I await the time that I am also called home. My Prodigal Son is truly home, no more to wander and wallow in the mud!
Here is a picture from February 2000 while on a mission’s trip to Chiclayo, Peru to help build a church and minister to the children. My son is to the left holding one of the children, while I am standing to the right.