The Wayward Son–the Decision to Return Home



Many of us go through stages in our spiritual journey when we take leave of our spiritual home and go in search of something new and different, or perhaps easier.

Grounded as I had been in my religious practice, I also “left home” for a while. It’s hard for me to understand what I was looking for, because I never abandoned my spiritual seeking–I just wanted to look elsewhere. Perhaps for something easier, and I found myself unable to live up to the expectations I had set for myself–forgetting that salvation is not about what I do, but what God has already done for me.

The son’s leave-taking, as discussed in my last post, was about himself, but also about a search for his own pleasure and a defiance of his father’s love for him. What was it that brought him home–the total destitution that he encountered–his hunger for food.

He had no expectation of being received as a son, but figured that perhaps his father would accept him back as a servant. He thought that since he was feeding pigs for a stranger, perhaps his lot would be better with the Father, that at least he wouldn’t have to eat the slop he fed the swine.

When I decided to return home, I can’t explain why, exactly. I just knew it was time. I had to come face to face with my own delusions, my well-thought-out rationale for whatever it was I was seeking. It just happened that one day, I decided I missed my spiritual home. The loving Spirit of the Father drew me back. Perhaps you have read Francis Thompson’s poem, The Hound of Heaven, a poem about God’s relentless pursuit of us.

Have you had your own experience of leave-taking? Of home-coming? What drove you away? What/Who brought you home? Your sharing may help someone else.

Next week, I’d like to take a look at the older brother, the one who never left. We may find out that he needed to fall flat on his face, too–like some of us have.

Note: On September 12, 13, and 14th I will be offering a free Kindle Give-Away of my novel, “The Sin of His Father.” Click on the title to take advantage of this offer. If you are willing to do a review on or, I would be so grateful. Print copies are also available for purchase. Ask me about signed copies– 


Words uttered by his mother on her deathbed, a mystery about his father that she had not confided to him, drove Matt Maxwell to fear that he could become like this man he never knew.

Abandoning the woman he loved, his closest friend, and a lifestyle that suited him well, Matt made choices that opened him to an unlikely friendship and a new relationship with the God of his youth. However, the terrible secret he harbored eventually took him down a path of self-destruction and alcoholism.

What would it take to embrace his truth, accept himself and his past, and discover peace in the power of forgiveness and love?

God–a Lovelorn Teen? God and the Prophets



Most of us, I bet, as teenagers, or even as adults, have had the experience of a lost love. Someone in whom we’ve invested an overdraft of our emotional reserve, of whom  we just couldn’t let go. We imagined the rekindling of that romance, the fulfillment of our deepest wants. And so it is with God.

In June, I made up my mind to study the Bible again with a beginner’s mind. (Beginner’s mind is a Buddhist concept that leaves one open to learning new things, perhaps things we think we already know. It’s one of the more helpful things I learned in my spiritual wanderings. It’s a healthy mindset.)

And so, I decided to read a Psalm a day, a Chapter or so from the prophets, beginning with Isaiah, a short section from the Gospels and the Epistles. The experience, along with the compelling power of the Holy Spirit, brought me “Home” again.

Today, I want to focus on the prophets. I’ve made it up to Hosea but it hasn’t been too easy. Poor God! His chosen people were (are) so stubborn and dense.

Over and over, I read of God’s warnings, threats of gloom and doom, exile, destruction–really grim things–but his people just didn’t get it. It was dreary at times, but then, all of a sudden, God, the passionate Lover, breaks through with his proclamation of crazy love, forgiveness, pity, pleading for his people to come back to him. God never gave up. He just waited and hoped.

His chosen ones  vacillated. When things got really tough, they came grovelling back. They left their idols, their “harlotry” behind and returned to the Lord. But then, when they felt satiated and secure, off they would go in search of whatever it was that attracted them to false gods. So then God would go back into a waiting, threatening, chastising mode. But, bottom line, God never quit trying, never gave up on his beloved.

This has helped me to realize that God’s love for me, for all of us, is just like his love for his chosen people of old. He is always there waiting, forgiving, welcoming–inviting us to celebrate his unending, unfaltering love.

In their affliction, they  shall look for me;

“Come, let us return to the LOrd,

For it is he who has rent, but he will heal us;

He has struck us, but he will bind our wounds…

He will come to us like the rain,

like spring rain that waters the earth.

Hosea 6: 1, 3