It’s devasting to hear and see the Missing Person reports on the news. The discussion of missing persons is controversial and difficult. People “go missing” for numerous reasons and under a variety of circumstances. People “go missing” for reasons that include illnesses, accidents, victims of crime, or just due to facing everyday problems. A missing person report does not discremant based on age, gender, or social status. People often go missing because of a conscious decision to leave. Research shows that one of the main reasons people go missing is because they are unable to cope.
A disappearance is always a emergency situation. We live in a society that teaches us how to cope with the loss of a loved one but not the disappearence of a loved one. If you have ever been in an overwhelming situation that leaves you mentally, physically, or even emotionally paralysed (whether you realize it or not), you too may have wanted to go missing. Often a person who is missing does not want to found; they have voluntarily departed their usual locations and routines and intentionally have cut off contact with others.
I recently came across the case of a missing person that illustrates one of the most brilliant examples of redemption. I am sure you may have seen it blogged, facebooked, tweeted, or instagramed. The Missing Person report was filed by a concerned father. The report read:
Vital Statistics at Time of Disapperance: Wealthy
Distinguishing Characteristics: Loved by the Father
Details of Disappearance: Luke 15:11-31
11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. 13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. 17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. 21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate. 25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound. 28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’ 31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”
I don’t know if you have every been in a situation where going missing was not just an option but a reality. Just like the lost son, you end up surrounded by pigs (thoughts, people, places, or things). You end up selling yourself cheap and desiring what the pigs want. How many times have you done something and when you thought about it, you said to yourself, “What was I thinking?” But I am so glad that we have a father who cares and loves us enough to have compassion on us. The passage tells us that the son “came to his senses”.
Two other interesting verses that you don’t want to miss are located in verse 20 and verse 32. Verse 20 tells us that while the son was still a long way off the father saw him. Aren’t you glad that no matter where you are and how lost you feel…the Father sees you and has compassion on you. Verse 32 gives all of us hope for when we are lost. Verse 32 gives all of us hope for when we feel stuck in a dead end situation. In the verse, the father replies that the son was dead and now he is alive again; he was lost and now he is found. We have a Father who operates with resurrecting power for what ever situation you feel dead in. We have a Father who is the divine GPS system all you have to do is turn to God and ask Him for forgiveness and help in the situation. To God be the Glory!
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