“But who can duly adore that Love which will open the high gates to a prodigal who is brought in kicking, struggling and resentful?” C.S. Lewis
It’s been a tough season lately as my 12-year-old continues to push the limits of both my patience and my boundaries. Matthew 28 carries on as I exhaust every muscle in my body to keep Trey inside and push Jesus out. With every key word of instruction that leaves my lips, the Holy Spirit whispers the need for additional forgiveness and grace as my footing becomes more firm on pride rock. In typical God-the-Father fashion, a memory of the past presents itself in the late pm kitchen light as Levi and I stand toe to toe seeing who will give in first.
Surprisingly, the backdrop in this setting is not of marsh, hill country or some body of water. Much less picturesque and arousing, the stage that autumn evening takes place inside the confines our old garage, and notably is one of the fondest memories I have. It was a typical week for my 17 year old life and as my hormones, and the attitude with it, soared, I continued to push the limits of my father with a barrage of disrespect believing, as we stood on opposite ends of the brick and mortar, there was a need to prove myself in this world of vice and inadequacy. As my inevitable death from the ridicule began to materialize, my dad paused and said “no matter how much You battle me, I will gladly carry the cross meant for you. With splintered hands, I will remain in your corner standing strong as your biggest fan.”
That day the entire gospel was presented to me in a dozen words. The entire message was served up on a floor of concrete and rebar. My adolescent mind was in no mental capacity to interpret the Rabbi and his teachings, but it definitely understood an inhabited desire this fallen world was incapable of communicating. There was profound desire to be loved. A desire to be accepted despite all of the sin, brokenness and mistakes I brought to the table. A desire, that understood I did not deserve it, but still desperately needed it.
In a second I was tongue tied. In a second my hardened spirit was cracked. In a second my stomach was buried in my ankles and in a second my life was redirected to a different kind of road with a different kind of destination. The Invitation that day was to break bread and sit in a seat I could not afford. To join my father at the table of kings and glamour, where my bloody hands were not allowed.
And as I return to the present still locked down in a standoff, I am fully aware of what the Rabbi was teaching that October evening. I have a complete understanding of the subject and I understand the same table I’m invited to break bread at hosts an extra seat for one more. In a moment the memory is so thick I have to brush it away from my face and then in another it is gone and just as I begin to demand obedience a voice bellows across the tile and grout solidifying another reminder that just like me, he too is worth the chards of wood.