Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Family Reunion (06/05/08)
By Rita Horten
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I awoke to realize that I had fallen into a pig sty in the dark of night. In my lost state, I had wondered into dangerous and unknown territory. I surveyed my surroundings. My clothes were soiled and torn. My head hurt from dehydration and I had not eaten a balanced meal in days. I checked my pockets but came up empty. I had no water, no food, and no money, sitting in the middle of a pig sty. So it had come down to this.
In just a short time, I had spent all my inheritance and had nothing to show for it. Harsh reality was bringing me to my senses. My first thought was to panic. “What am I going to do?” I asked myself. As I began to cry, a thought was forming in my mind. Go home.
I immediately tried to talk myself out of that notion. I could probably never go home. The thought persisted.
I thought about the way I had left. I had insisted that my father give me my share of the inheritance. I can still remember the look of hurt in his eyes. He didn’t even try to talk me out of it. As he counted out the money, he exhorted me to be careful, to choose my friends wisely, and to remember my upbringing. Foolish old man, didn’t he realize that those were some of the things I wanted to get away from? As I thought about it, it dawned on me that I had done none of those things. I had lived carelessly, squandering my riches on fair-weather friends, non-committal men and in the midst of it all, I compromised my Christian beliefs for what I called “living.” My father certainly didn’t seem so foolish now. How could I face him? I felt so ashamed; I am the fool, not him.
That still small voice, once so familiar to me, worked its way from the darkened corridors of my heart to the forefront of my mind. ‘Your father loves you and will forgive you, go home.’ The decision made, I scrambled to my feet, climbed the fence and hit the road running. I was crying so hard, I could barely see the highway through my tears. Sobs wracked my body so hard I felt my ribs were going to break. As much as it hurt, it could not equal the pain in my heart. I so desperately longed for my father. I needed my family.
After what seemed like a lifetime, I came to the lane leading home. As I started down the path, I saw my father stop what he was doing, to look my direction. Even in my disheveled state, he recognized me immediately and began to run toward me, holding his arms out. I broke. I fell to my knees crying uncontrollably. “Forgive me, Father, I have sinned against you.” I held my arms out to him and he scooped me up, holding me tightly, kissing me through his tears, saying over and over, “My daughter, you’ve come home.”
Once we had gained our composure and had gotten to the house, my father called the rest of the family together. After a short period of cautious hesitation, the barriers that my hurt had caused them began to fall away and just as my father had forgiven me, they too displayed their love and welcome. I was gratefully and humbly reunited with my family, I was forgiven and I was home. (Luke 15).
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