When we got out of our Taxi bus after spending the week in Mexico for spring break with our children, we were annoyed and tired. It wasn’t because it was hot, it wasn’t because it was a long drive, it wasn’t because our kids were poking at each other the whole time. It was because my husband had broke his leg while surfing two days earlier, and two days before that, we had gotten some kind of stomach bug that landed us near a toilet, not the beautiful ocean.
“This trip needs to just be over. I mean, what else could go wrong?” I said while packing.
As we exited the bus, we were met with the chaos of the crowded airport — people everywhere, shouting vendors, arrivals and departures, tons of white vans bringing passengers to and from. So I gave clear instructions to the children, “Ok, we will go across this yellow crosswalk.” Except I was wrong and my husband corrected me, “No, we need to go to the other crosswalk at departures.” We quickly scurried through the designated crosswalk to escape the outdoor chaos. Once inside, it was calmer. We were moving a bit slower with my husband on crutches and my son and I taking his bags. When we got to the counter, we handed over our passports and they ticketed our luggage. “Nothing for Pruett?” the attendant asked. We looked around.
And that’s when terror set in. Our eight-year-old son Pruett was nowhere to be seen. My teenage son, Layne, and I split up and yelled for him. We ran and I screamed Pruett’s name over and over as loud as I could. I went outside and yelled into the crowd scanning back and forth. People were looking at me, still carrying on, drinking margaritas at the outdoor bar. I was screaming the loudest I had ever screamed. I ran back inside and my husband saw that I still didn’t have him. So he took off on his crutches so fast, he probably rebroke his leg.
Minutes later, Layne walked into the building holding hands with a crying Pruett and chastising him, “You have to stay near us. What were you thinking?!” But I ran to my small son as he explained. “I’m sorry. I went on the crosswalk you told me to go to. I lost you guys. I’m very sorry! I was so scared!”
“You are not in trouble! I am so glad we found you!! I said the wrong way and you didn’t hear Dad tell us the right way,” I said, wiping the tears off his face and retrieving a pen to write my phone on his arm in huge font. I was NOT letting that happen again!
As terrifying as this experience was, as heart-wrenching as it felt, it made the other bad parts of the trip melt quickly away. I was so thankful to have my kid by my side, safe again. I was never mad at Pruett for getting lost, I simply ached to find him. I searched him out while he took the wrong way, not listening, and landing in a scary position.
I think about that with God, how we think He’s mad at us. How we think He’ll be mad at us when or if we return. How sometimes we have to sit in our scary mess for a bit to understand how much we need to be rescued. How the good father waits at the gate for the prodigal son but the brother chastises him for not doing the right thing like he did.
“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.”
This story has a sudden new meaning for me after our Mexico experience.
There’s something we say in our house, sort of like a catechism, back and forth. It goes like this:
I ask, “Is God mad at you?”
The kids answer, “No, Jesus took all of God’s wrath on my behalf.”
I say that to them because I believed for a long time that God must be mad at me for sinning, not staying on the right track, and bad behaviors. And maybe you’re wondering the same thing. But we know from Scripture that God isn’t like that towards us. He can not possibly be mad at us for our lostness. In fact, He patiently waits at the gate, scanning the pasture in anticipation that we will get tired of our pig trough and come back. And then He throws a celebration!
This is good news for the sick ones, the lost ones, the ones who just can’t seem to get it right and messed up big. God waits for you today.
Thank you, Jami. Please pray for my daughter Sara who is still lost at the airport!
jami nato says
WOW! This made me cry! <3 Please keep my mama (Linda) and me (AmaTHa) in your prayers still.
Hi Jami, funny how things get put into perspective.
Wow, who cares about surfing n sitting on a beautiful beach when your heart only wants your little boy.
A good reminder to all of us i.e. myself who forgets to praise Jesus when I’m annoyed annoyed.
Blessings to you and your family
jami nato says
A great way to put into perspective Gods unfailing love for us.
jami nato says
He really just wants us back home!
Beth Williams says
Great analogy! After years of reading & studying I see the prodigal story in a different light. The story is of God & us. We leave Him & His love for the world. Then when we wake up & realize we are lost we run back to Him. He has been waiting there patiently for us. He will run to us & throw a huge party on our behalf. Interesting side note is that men in Jerusalem days didn’t run. This is great news for ALL of us. We/I mess up daily yet God still forgives. He will leave the 99 & come get us.
jami nato says
Thank you, Jamie! I think we all could use this reminder.
Dawn Ferguson-Little says
Jami God never blamed you. If you did sin. You can go God in true repentance. Ask him to forgive you for that sin and God will. We all from time to that are saved sin mess up as followers of Jesus. But we can go to God in true repentance and ask him to forgive us and help us never to do it again. You might have felt all that went wrong in your Holiday in Mexico was punishment from God for a sin you done. Never think that. That was the old Devil who had put that there for you to believe that. I had the old Devil do that in my life at times when I taken on well. Taken seizures out of no where. My Husband who is saved has told me Dawn don’t let that thought come into your head. You done nothing wrong to be a person who takes Seizures. That the old Devil putting that into your mind. To make you think that. I got now I trust God for every day I wake up to keep me safe. If I do take a seizure he will see me through it. I will be ok after it. God told me this Dawn remember I with you always I will never leave you not forsake you. God gave this Scripture. Joshua 1 v 9 it says ” Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you Wherever you go” that verse is so true. God is with me and us all where ever we go for us not to be afraid. I say Amen to that. Like the Father welcomed the prodigal son back with love. Our Heavenly Father does the same. Love today’s reading. Love Dawn Ferguson-Little in my prayers all incourage xx
jami nato says
Just love this Jami!
Our sermon today was “God is the Hounddog of Heaven” He will come hounding -seeking for you every time.
jami nato says
It’s just who he is!