Gutter to Glory

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. (Luke 15:20-24)

Travel with me a moment into the arena of current events.  This week the world places their focus upon a man named Ted Williams.  Up until several days ago Mr. Williams was homeless, as he had been for many years, and made his living pan-handling on the side of a Columbus Ohio roadway.  In order to offer those who might hand him some loose change or a couple of dollars something in return, he made it known upon the cardboard sign which he held that he had a “God given voice,”  and would share it with anyone who would like to hear it.

As I’m sure you have heard, someone did come along and want to hear this “golden voice” as it were, and it just so happened to be just the right person.  A multi-media producer from the Columbus Times Dispatch knew that in this very unlikely circumstance he had discovered someone who had tremendous potential to do great things.

The rest is currently developing history on You Tube as we speak.  Mr. Williams has since been offered several jobs to include being the new Kraft Macaroni and Cheese spokes person to being hired as a Cleveland Cavaliers announcer, a position which includes within its benefit package a home for him to live in.

There is more to the story however.  Ted is a recovering drug addict and alcoholic and has been “clean” for just two and a half years.  Along with his lists of addictions were altercations with the law.  Many would have looked at Mr. Williams and thought that his life would never amount to anything more than the culmination of what it had become.

He has now had the opportunity to be reunited with his mother who he had been estranged from for the last twenty years.  The Today Show had the privilege of allowing the entire world into this very private and intimate moment between a mother and her child and we hear her say “The prodigal son has come home.” Mr. William’s mother shares how she prayed for her son and in return he shared that he had prayed as well-just as she had told him to.

There are many similarities between Mr. Williams and the biblical example of the prodigal son.  Both of them came from a seemingly good family and decent life.  They both had parents that loved them.  They both made poor choices which affected their lives in very negative ways and eventually led them to the “gutter.”  And when, with repentive hearts, they returned to the very parents that they had previously walked away from, they were embraced, loved and forgiven.  It didn’t matter what they had done, where they had been, or the choices they had made, they remained the child of a parent who loved them, unconditionally, and rejoiced to see them restored.

I am so thankful for that the Father saw fit to put into His holy Word the story of “The Prodigal Son.”   There have been many times when I have, in great awareness of my sin, felt unworthy to be called a child of God.  Again and again it is in these times that my Heavenly Father never fails to embrace me and pour over me His compassion, grace and mercy.  Just like the Father in Luke, instead of condemning me for the choices I’ve made, He rejoices because I have found my way back to Him.

Abba Father, thank you that you are the perfect parent.  Your love is unconditional and its depths are beyond even what we are able to begin to fathom.  I am thankful Lord that you never offer me condemnation; instead, conviction by your Holy Spirit, which brings me to Godly sorrow and then to repentance.  My heart is thankful for your faithfulness to me in this.


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