God Doesn't Forget Prodigals And Neither Should We
My wife's mother grew up in Battle Creek, Michigan, eating Rusketts and Protose, attending the Battle Creek Tabernacle and 12 years of Battle Creek Academy, and eventually working at John Harvey Kellogg's Battle Creek Sanitarium. Back then you couldn't have been much more "Adventist."
In her late teen years, however, with the nation focused on World War II, Millie fell in love with a young Navy pilot and, against her parents' wishes, boarded a train to join him. Broken-hearted, her mother wrote her a letter and gave it to her as she departed. Millie refused to open it.
As the years went by, never a day passed without Millie's parents praying for their wayward daughter. Eventually they both passed away, still hoping someday their daughter would return to the Lord and her faith.
Through providential circumstances, she finally did come back, eventually followed by her husband's conversion as well.
What an incredible reunion they will have on the resurrection morning when the first thoughts of Millie's parents are Is she here? But how sad they couldn't have fallen asleep with the peace of knowing she had come Home.
A Similar Story...With a Very Significant Difference
A few weeks ago I received the following letter from a respected, long-time friend. I have used it with his permission:
"Years ago my wife and I adopted a little two-year-old boy. During his academy years he began some undesirable activities.
"One evening I sat down and told him that we didn't have many rules for our children but the rules were meant to be kept. I added that if he could not abide by them he would have to move out and run his own program. Within 24 hours he left and was soon sleeping under a bridge.
"He subsequently went into a life of drugs, women and crime. He has been in jails and prisons in Oregon from Pendleton to Klamath Falls and many places in between. Some of these facilities have held him more than once. You can imagine the emotional and mental stress his lifestyle caused my wife and me.
"Then a little more than a year ago a letter came from him saying, 'I just wanted to tell you I preached my first sermon.' Yes, it was true! He had been converted and was becoming active at a little Adventist church where he was now a baptized member.
"Just three days before my wife passed away, a postcard addressed to her from our son arrived on Sabbath. There were only two sentences on the card. 'Dear Mom, Thanks for leading me to Jesus. I'll see you in Heaven. Love, Your Son.'"
He is Still Saving Prodigals
In the Old Testament, Jeremiah says, "Refrain from weeping...they shall come back from the land of the enemy.... There is hope in your future...your children shall come back.1
In the story of the lost sheep Christ reminds us: "Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in Heaven that one of these little ones should be lost."2
While someone may say those texts don't specifically refer to our own prodigal children Ellen G. White reminds us the promises of the Old and New Testaments are valid for us today. I believe that.
Keep those prayers patiently but fervently entreating Heaven. While we don't totally understand intercessory prayer, we do know it works.
1 Jeremiah 31:16, 17
2 Matthew 18:14
While we don't totally understand intercessory prayer, we do know it works.