What you should know if you’re lovin’ a stray

Categorized as Rhonda's Posts

In whirlwind’s vortex, the holiday schedule overwhelms. Programs and concerts. Gatherings and food. Traveling and shopping and gifts. What a wild, colorful, angelic, lit-up, Heaven-comes-down-to-the-earth time of year.

What a painful and sorrowful time.

The word that comes to me today is for the one who’s heading in to the holiday season with a prodigal. A runner. Someone who’s feet have gone to running just as far and as fast as they can.

Someone like I once had here, a Beloved Son.

As I’m working today, a picture comes to my mind. A father has gone to the end of his lane, eyes scanning that old country road. Looking again; always looking, hands shading. His gaze, it sweeps into the distance.

Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of times; who can count them? For ever and always, he waits. By now, other family members and servants are used to the sight. This is just what that old father does. Day after day after yet one more day, in the falling dusk, he walks, step, step, step, to the end of the lane. Always looking, hand shading his eyes.

But today, into the picture, a second figure. It approaches. In the distance over yonder rise, a speck. The father stops, waits, eyes squinting. Sun’s dying rays caress fields with fiery fingers, and that far-distant speck’s moving closer.

All at once, a broken cry! A mighty shout! Feet go running, sandals a-churning up the dust. A robe flaps and swirls ’round his legs. “My son! My son! My son.”

And there at the end of that long, country lane, a sacred spot, place of countless, lone vigils, a reunion. The prodigal’s come home, and a father’s embracing.

As I’m sitting here, thinking on the Biblical tale, looking back on our own “vigil season,” there are two things that come that I want you to know. It’s important if you’re loving a runner.

First, in both stories (in God’s Word and in ours), there was a time for releasing the wayward. At a specific, clear point along that arid path, a crossroads, a fork, and the one, it scarcely bears telling.It’s so hard.


There was a day and an hour when it became very clear: it was time to quit striving, to release him. Just like the father at the end of that lane, and the sons, they went sprinting for the far country. All the way.

What you need to know right here, you who are loving a stray, is that your own pressuring and controlling and striving and preaching can, at some point, delay the work. Delay His hand. Delay the actual answer you’re wanting. Yes, it can.

In your own history, can you see the times when a brick wall was a mercy? When a crippling brought life? When pain (and hard consequences) birthed repentance? What, dear friend, if someone had stepped in to your story and prevented these?

It’s so hard, I know, and it’s the knowing of one who’s been through it. My heart, I’m telling you, knows it.

The second thing I’m meaning to tell you is something Papa God told me many times on the journey. “My Son has yours.” At the time, there was a beautiful picture of Jesus on our fridge, and countless times in that long, hellish season as I stood there getting water to drink, I’d look at His face and hear those words. “My Son,” our Shepherd and Friend, “has yours.”

I don’t know who this message is for. All I’m called to is the passing, is the teaching. So if this is for you, I’m prayin’, okay? That you’ll have the wisdom and the courage to do what is needed. That your heart will find comfort in those words: “My Son, He’s got yours.” Or your daughter or your spouse or your…

While your runner is off in the far country, it’s important–very important that you keep on living. I know it’s hard, but I know that you can. I know that it’s what God is wanting. You CAN live in peace. You CAN live in trust. You CAN walk in rest and in joy.

Yes. You can. For the Son of the Father, He’s got yours. He’s got you. And one eve, at the end of your lane…

With prayers this day for you,


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