Sometimes you hear something, and it sticks to you. Maybe it’s because the message is good; maybe it’s because the speaker is remarkable, or maybe it’s because it is the right message, at the right time, and you were meant to hear it. Maybe that why Scripture says “faith cometh by hearing” (Romans 10:17).
Today, I heard a message – actually I caught the tail end of the message yesterday and so I went to Focus on the Family and listened to both parts 1 & 2. The message is from Rob Parson, Wales attorney turned author, and speaker, on family issues. He is a great story teller, and his stories were funny and memorable. Parson speaks of many things in this two-part series. In one instance he speaks of prodigal kids and how as controlling as we can be as parents, (as it relates to situations and circumstances regarding our prodigal) sometimes it is just not our battle to fight. Sometimes no matter how well one has reared their beloveds, they make their own choices. Parson’s most poignant directive – we (parents) must keep the porch light on: They will return home. I needed to hear that for my porch light has been on for a few years.
In another instance Parsons recites a story told at one of his conventions. Here’s the gentleman’s story.
Rob Parson: I was speaking at a big convention some years ago, 4,000 people and when I finished a man got up and told a story. I knew the second he finished tellin’ it and it took him two minutes, if he told it at the beginning, I need never have spoken. This is the story he told that night.
He said, “I had a great relationship with my mum and my dad, but in his 80’s, dad had a stroke. He couldn’t speak.” He said, “That was hard. Dad loved to talk to me.” He said, “One night I rang my mother up and said, ‘Mum, I’m doing some business near your home. Can I come and stay the night?” “Of course, you can, son.”
And he said, “It’s 11 o’clock at night and mum and I are speaking with great animation, but dad can only smile at me.” And he said, “About quarter past 11 I go up to bed and they’ve given me the old bedroom I had when I was a boy. And I’m lyin’ in bed and my mind’s goin’ back over years of childhood. I can imagine a cricket back in the corner, a rugby ball over there, a picture of a spitfire on the left-hand wall and I begin to fall off to sleep and suddenly, there’s a knock at the door.
I’m a bit surprised by that, but I shout, “Come in,” and it’s my dad. And he comes to the bed and he looks down at me and he sees there’s a hair in my eye, so he licks his finger and he pushes it back across my forehead. And then he tucks the bedclothes in tight around me and straightens the top sheet as he used to when I was a little boy. And he can’t speak, but he leans over me and he kisses me, smiles and leaves.
Rob Parson: And the gentleman said “I’m lyin’ there and I’m 45 years of age and I’ve got four kids of my own and I run a business employin’ 100 people and I have just been tucked in by my own father and boy, didn’t it feel good.” And he looked out at 4,000 people and said, “God wants to do that for some of you.”
Rob Parson: For some of you, you have felt a rubbish Christian. He loves you. And some of you, faith has almost died in your heart. He loves you. He is your Father, your Father. Grasp again His joy. A couple lessons I wish I’d learned earlier. God bless you.”
I’m left with thoughts that unconditional Love is often tested. Parsons remarked that one doesn’t love God because the garden is fine and growing and in full bloom. Love is against the odds. Love is tested in the pain, in the prodigal, in the hurt and brokenness.
God whispers to us, “I know you. I know you better than you know yourself. I still love you. Nothing can make me love you less. I love you. I am your strength. I will help you. I am He who will sustain you.” You are special to God and one day you will know this, if you haven’t already been blessed with this knowledge, wisdom and understanding. No matter how old you are, you are His beloved. He, too, tucks you in at night, and kisses your forehead as a loving father.
Speak it … God loves me, unconditionally. God truly loves me.