Today’s Word: ‘Map as in… God is near, as near as the address on your house.
You’ll need a map for this one. Go either old school with one of those huge atlases that don’t fit on any bookshelf you have in your home, or just use your computer. On the map, find your state and locate your city and your street. Now, for just a few moments, think about all of the people who live close to you; those on your street and in the neighborhoods around you.
Now imagine that you’re on a vacation. With your finger follow along all of the roads that lead you away from and back to your home. Think about all of the people whose homes you would pass as you traced those roads.
What do you think it’s like on those roads right now? Close your eyes and imagine what they might be doing as you passed them by. Think about what you might find along the way: stop signs, detours, lakes, rivers, closed roads, freeways, other vehicles.
How far from your home have you been? Have you ever been lost? Have you ever felt all alone? Have you ever felt like you needed some direction in your life? Were you afraid?
Did you find your own way back or do someone rescue you? What was it like to come home again?
Let’s take a look at Luke 15:11-24
The Parable of the Prodigal and His Brother 11 Then Jesus said, “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the property that will belong to me.’ So he divided his property between them. 13 A few days later the younger son gathered all he had and traveled to a distant country, and there he squandered his property in dissolute living. 14 When he had spent everything, a severe famine took place throughout that country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed the pigs. 16 He would gladly have filled himself with the pods that the pigs were eating; and no one gave him anything. 17 But when he came to himself he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired hands have bread enough and to spare, but here I am dying of hunger! 18 I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me like one of your hired hands.” ’ 20 So he set off and went to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him. 21 Then the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly, bring out a robe—the best one—and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 And get the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; 24 for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!’ And they began to celebrate.
God wants to always be in a close relationship with us, but sometimes we feel very far away from God. But God is always near.
Put your finger back on the map on ‘your home.’ Imagine God saying to you. “Welcome home!” Say to yourself, “I am Home.”
Say out loud, “I am at home with God.”
(adapted from my writing in “God Is Near: 30 Extraordinary Encounters.” ©2001, Group Publishing, Inc., Loveland, Colorado)