A Son Returns
Several years ago our oldest son left the Lord he knew and went into this world. He could not be reasoned with, and we had to pray and trust the Lord to do something to bring him back. It would be impossible to put into words what a parent's heart feels in this situation, but by God's grace he came back. He is every bit imperfect as is his father, but He truly wants to serve the Lord. A few months ago he wrote this and I asked his permission to post it. His name is Jonathan.
I John 2:15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
My heart and mind are in a continual battle raging with thunder and brokenness of heart. I find myself gazing toward the precious Cross, but with demons of this world on all sides doing everything to cause a spiritual waver from serving my Master. I have a confession to make and it is one which I feel truly justified within God’s word. I hate this world in which I live. On a daily basis, I feel the sins of this world trying to tear at me with fierceness and relentless pounding. All around me, at the very moment I leave my home, I feel the vale of darkness trying to blanket my eyes with the sinful actions of others and take any march of a Christian soldier out of my steps. Yes, I do have the armor of God on my body, but my flesh has many kinks in it. I fight anger inside me which brews from my past sinful life and frustration which comes from the battering of the wake from the sins of others. Maybe I think to much or maybe I have a calling that the devil is striving to do anything to delay my course. But in any event, I hate this world and the things in it. If I were not a believer, I don’t think I would be alive today.
The past is a hard and horrible thing. I would do anything in my physical power to throw anything out of my life that resembles the past, but the human mind is a computer with a power all to itself. I know the blood has washed me white as snow and I know through Jesus I am sanctified, but the hate I have for this world consumes my heart. The way people act is a complete masterpiece of why Jesus had to come and die. From the way people carry themselves to the music they listen too…I am surrounded by wickedness. Yes, I used to be of this world. Now as a believer I want to do one thing and that is to tell people about Jesus. Not to be around the sin, but the sinner. Is that not impossible! I have no need of remembering my past, but only knowing it is just that…
My Past! I have been apart of this world and have committed sins that only Jesus knows about and because of that my heart grieves in anxious pain to be away from it. Brothers and sisters, this is a hard way to live. I find it more difficult than words can express to walk through a public place with open ears and hear the rottenness of man’s heart. It is frustrating to see with open eyes the site of peoples eyes looking toward others in a perverse way and it is even more difficult when it is directed at you or someone your with. I think now that there were probably many times, while I was of this world, I caused many a believer to hate this world we live in by my actions or even my presence. Not that they hated me, but my sins they despised.
I have given my testimony to many people, but the ones I think of most of all are the teenagers I have talked to in youth groups or Christian organizations. In my heart I know I have given them the true gospel of My Lord Jesus, but to the ones who are already saved there is one thing I have not stressed….how gruesome the past can be and how ones ungodly choices can sentence one to forever guilt. I haven’t stressed enough what sin can do to a life or what mark it can leave. Yes, Jesus saves from all sin. With him all is possible. But the one thing a Christian must deal with after a back slidden state is their past. They come out of bondage and are set free of the sins through repentance, but there human minds will always remember. Yes, they serve the master. Yes, the are now in his will. But they have done one thing that they will have to live with the rest of there lives….they have given the devil a powerful tool. I don’t believe this tool is used more harshly and viciously by the evil one than that toward a previously strayed believer in Christ. The actions of a blinded believer become more real to them than ever before when eternity sets full in their eyes. They now realize the full weight of there sin before and after they came to the saving knowledge of the risen Christ. We who know the Lord and have at one point in our lives took our eyes off him know what it is to really spit on the face of the master. We know what it is to, with full understanding, tell the Lord he is nothing to us but a fire station and when the blaze starts up….we'll call you!
After all these years I am still ashamed at what I did and hold my hands toward my Jesus and say, “Lord, your servant is here. I am ashamed of what I have done. What will you have me do for your sake?” Have you ever felt, in your Christian life, almost totally paralleled with a story in the Bible. I have many times and as I write this the story of the prodical son comes to mind. I came back through the working of the Holy Spirit, but I don’t deserve anything but to work in the fields. A ring on my finger…give it to a missionary who gives their life for the cause of the Cross. Sandles on my feet…give them to a God fearing evangelist who travels near and far. The fatted calf….give it to the starving believers in Africa who go days without food and still proclaim the name of Jesus. To believers old and new…Keep your eyes on the Master! Hold his words close and never let go for I tell you this with all that is in me. Never give way to your fleshly desires for when you return to his will you will feel a burden you know not of!
One of the hardest parts of a Christians life, besides dealing with a sinful past, is dealing with a persons sins that directly effects you. I think now of how hard is must have been for my parents to see me taking my eyes off of the risen one and grasping on to this disgusting world. Oh how this world can be so inviting to one who has a void not filled by the site of the Cross. After coming back to servant hood I have heard my father tell about what he felt seeing me stray. One of the hardest things I have had to endure is to hear him say, “I didn’t think he would ever come back.” My heart cried in sorrow and regret when I heard him say that. What emptiness fills the heart of a parent in which there own child walks away from the truth about Jesus? An emptiness I can only explain through the look of past heartache written on my fathers face as he told my story to a group of believers whose children were out in the world. His look was hope filled desperation. I know my father believes with Jesus all things are possible, but didn’t Mary say, “ Lord if your were here Lazarus would not have died.” The grief and sometimes doubt that consumes a believers heart for a loved ones lost or strayed condition is that of supreme desperation; Especially to ones who truly have their eyes on the eternal. The saddest by all means is when a person who claims they are saved has no desperate feelings whatsoever for a lost person let alone their loved ones. Do they really believe in eternity? My father and mother do and because of that belief their hearts were in pieces and they knew that the only thing that would revive my dead spiritual body was the voice of the holy spirit echoing through my weary ear saying, “Jonathan come forth!”
It must have been heart wrenching for Mary and the others to wait on the Lord to resurrect Lazarus. They knew him as master, but they have human minds. With eyes filled with tears and palms sweating to see what the master would do they waited with hope filled desperation. The dead was about to rise and with ultimate power the dead was raised. When Jesus raised him they must have had joy unspeakable. I feel the toughest time for my parents was to wait on the Lord to call me at the time he knew would be the second I would surrender. My parents smelled my dead filled stench in which I reaked of sin. The death clothes were my death attire. The grave , which is this world, held my body as one of its inhabitants. I was dead and every step I took around my family showed how completely lost in worldy death I was. Little did they know that for many months the Holy Spirit wouldn’t leave me alone. No matter where I went he would wisper in my ear, “Jon, did I not die for you; Jon, do you know you might be the only one saved here? Jon, do you know who I am and what I did for you?” The words of the Lord were piercing my soul as to cause me to cry to him to leave me alone, but he never did. So with my parents desperately waiting and with me sick of life in this horrible world the Lord cried out to me, “Jonathan, come forth! Take those death clothes off of him and let him go!” I was freed!
My life was renewed. My eyes saw the cross and the crimson tide that rolled down. Not yet fully aware of what now to do, I knew there was a change and I would have to let go of everything. I remember a day after the Lord touched me I went to a friends house and walked in, but this time it was different. Feeling ashamed around the friends that were around me I didn’t tell them why, but I told them I couldn’t partake in any of the drugs that were laid out before me. I remember holding my shirt over my nose because I didn’t want to smell the smoke or fumes that were in the room. I was afraid I would want to do it even more if I smelt it. I left shortly after never to return again. Sometimes the memory of the people in that room comes to my mind and the hope to see them walking down the street that I might tell the about the saving blood of the resurrected Christ.
Pray for him and his wife, Bonnie.