I’ll never forget when my son was six years old. The sun was starting to set, and I stepped out onto the porch and called for him to come home. There was no response. I called again, but there was no sign of my son. Frantically, his dad and I searched the neighborhood calling his name. We walked door-to-door asking if our son was there. With each “No,” our hearts grew heavy with worry. Eventually, with flashlights in hand, our neighbors joined the search. I felt my body go numb when my husband reported our son’s absence to the police. We were living out our worst nightmare—our son was lost.
Just before the police arrived, a neighbor’s van, on their way home from a ballgame, pulled into our driveway curious about the crowd that had gathered on our front lawn. My husband met them at the car and began explaining that our son was missing. He was interrupted by a faint voice from the back of the van.
“Here I am, dad,” said our son as he moved slowly to the front of the vehicle. He was afraid his dad would be angry with him for going to the ballpark without permission. Yet, his dad wasn’t angry at all. In fact, he displayed a father’s heart. He grabbed his son and with arms of love held him tight.
Days later, I thought about my husband’s response. It reminded me of a question that Jesus asked. “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it” (Luke 15: 4)
Our heavenly Father is not concerned about those who are safely in His flock, He is most troubled about the one who has wandered far away and is lost. He longs for them to come home and rejoices when they do. “I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just person who need no repentance” (Luke 15:7).
Perhaps you have wandered into a distant land, and you’re afraid that your heavenly Father will be angry with you. Maybe you may feel as if you’re lost for good. The truth is God knows where you are. You have not escaped His attention. The Father knows His children and calls them by name. Those who listen, follow, and obey will find their way home and be welcomed with open arms. With a Father’s heart, God is waiting and watching from the front porch of heaven for your return. If you don’t know what to say to Him, use these words from a hymn written by, William J. Kirkpatrick.
“[I’m] coming home, coming home…never more to roam. Open wide your arms of love. Lord, I’m coming home.”
If you hear the voice of your heavenly Father calling you home today, how will you respond?