Several years ago, I did a Bible study that discussed what it meant to be “had” by the Enemy. Though I don’t have the dramatic testimony that some do of being saved from drugs, alcohol, pornography, etc., I identified so strongly with that concept of being had. I had been taken in so many times by the Enemy’s lies, and even if my outside life looked pretty good, I knew my inner life wasn’t. I didn’t look like your typical Prodigal, but I felt like one.
The truths I learned in that study affected me deeply, and not long after I completed it, I wrote the following poem. It’s by no means great poetry, but when I read back over it recently, I realized how many of the concepts still resonated with me, and so I decided to share it. This is for all of the prodigals, whether they have wandered in the flesh or in the heart. The Father is waiting.
Bruised, bloodied, all but forgotten
I step on the trail toward home.
My legs shake. My eyes burn
As I step on the trail toward home.
The road is rutted. The hills are steep.
The burning sand hurts my feet.
What will he think of me? What will he say?
Will he even recognize my face?
So far have I traveled. So far have I gone.
So far from the house I once called home.
Will he even look at me?
I am so different from the one he once called son.
Voices churn through my head.
The enemy hisses and laughs.
Think where you’ve been. Think of your past.
I have you firmly in my grasp.
What you’ve done can never be erased.
You’ve been had.
You are mine.
Do you really think he’ll take you back this time?
No! I scream. No! No! NO!
But the voice has power. The voice knows my name.
He knows what I’ve done. He knows what I’ve been.
He knows I can never be loved again.
Father’s house is so near.
Yet his heart is so far.
I reach the hill’s crest.
The house is in sight.
Pure. Pristine. Perfect.
That is my father.
I glance down in despair.
My stains seem larger than ever before.
The road has flattened out.
The house is near. But I am so far.
I turn to go. To climb the hill again.
To ever go home is impossible.
But wait. A sound, ever so soft reaches my ear.
Quietly. But then louder and louder it grows.
I turn. And, oh, there he is.
He’s coming, he’s coming.
He’s running to me.
But still I know I can never go home.
He pulls me close.
My robes stain his own.
My son. My son.
You are home.
No, I say as I push away.
You are wrong.
The one that was yours. The one you called your son
Has long since ceased to be.
His grip stops me in my tracks.
His touch turns me, raises me, upholds me.
He lifts up my face
And looks me straight in the eye.
No. You are wrong.
You’ve been lied to. You’ve been had.
The enemy has stomped on you and broken your will.
But you can never be his as long as you’re Mine.
You are my son.
You were all along.
I know what you’ve done,
But I love you just the same.
Now come, son. Come inside.
We must celebrate your return.
You are finally home.
For now you’ve come back not to my home
But to my heart.
The trail is now ended. The journey is done.
The stains are gone. Only the scars remain.
Sometimes they remind me, and I shed a tear.
But my Father is here.
The grace of today
Eases the shame of the past.
I lift up my face.
With my Father’s hand in mine, I enter.
I AM HOME.