Although I’ve never been an atheist, C.S. Lewis’ words resonate with me. More than once, I have been a prodigal. More than once, God has brought me back.
In Jesus’ story of the prodigal son, the father is out on the road, waiting for his return. In the most dramatic case in my own life, my Heavenly Father went to a far off land, found me in the pigsty, and brought me home. Initially, I was not grateful. I was “kicking, struggling, resentful, and darting [my] eyes in every direction for a chance to escape”.
Wait! But what about free will? You’re making God out to be some sort of kidnapper!
All I know is, if I’m ever drowning in the sea, please don’t stand on the shore and debate free will. If I’m ever taken hostage, please don’t make me get over every twinge of Stockholm syndrome before you rescue me. If you see that my situation is dire, please do not withhold your help until I fully recognize the danger that I’m in.
I figure God knew what He was doing. On this side of things, I am so beyond thankful that He did not leave me to my own devices in the muck and mire.
Why doesn’t He mount search and rescue missions for all His prodigals, and drag them all back in a more or less timely fashion? Why doesn’t He prevent their wandering and rebellion in the first place? Why does it seem He was more concerned about me? I don’t know the answers. What I do know is that I was that one little lost sheep. I was lost, and now I’m found. And I’m forever grateful that He didn’t make me find the way on my own but that He dragged me back home to Him.
My only wish is that I had never left…not even for a moment.