Monday, May 01, 2017

"The Banished Son"

2nd Samuel 14.13-14 NLT

You have convicted yourself in making this decision, because you have refused to bring home your own banished son. All of us must die eventually. Our lives are like water spilled out on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. But God does not just sweep life away; instead, he devises ways to bring us back when we have been separated from him.

The story of the wise woman from Tekoa who condemned King David for his refusal to reconcile with his “banished son” pierced David’s heart. He was “convicted” and sent immediately for Absalom to return home.

About ten years ago I experienced an unhappy encounter with another human, one which I shall never forget. My youngest son and I were bicycling around Beaverton. Robert was only eight years old at that time. On the corner of Allen and Hall a pedestrian engaged my son in conversation as we waited for a green light at the cross walk.

The guy became emphatic on an idea that made little sense. I suspected the man was either high or drunk. He extended his hand and squeezed mine tightly pulling me in close to make another nonsensical point. I listened for a moment, became impatient, and asked him to let go of my hand. This request offended him and he called me some foul names accusing me of “turning something beautiful into bad thing.” I escalated the incident by asking him if he had been drinking. The question infuriated him and he stomped off mumbling obscenities in my direction.

I later asked my son what he thought of the altercation. His eyes filled with tears and he said the man was “just so lost.” I suggested we pray for him. My boy sobbed out the words… “Jesus please help that man. He is so lost. Just so lost.”

I agreed with Robert’s prayer, but, like King David, I felt “convicted.” In the moment of this man’s intrusion, it did not occur to me that I could be an agent of reconciliation. I may have missed a divine opportunity. The man needed a little love. He needed Jesus. I could have turned the conversation toward the things of God. Who knows? This guy may have been ready to make a life-changing decision for Christ. Or, maybe he was an angel sent to test the depth of my love for hurting and broken people. I’m sure my attempt to “bring home” a “banished son” would have made a more positive impact on my son than the argument he witnessed.

I can never recapture the moment. This story is “like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again.” It’s gone. The next time God “devises” a way to bring back His “own banished son” and offers me a chance to participate, I hope I am more perceptive.

3 comments:

rick waldinger said...

Dave. Your account of your and Robert's meeting with this lost soul was very meaningful. Everyday, we miss opportunities to minister to people. Our lives are so busy and consumed with our own problems we sometimes fail to see others in need. I believe that by your praying with Robert, this is what he will remember.
God Bless

Dave's Bible Blog said...

Hey Rick

Thanks for the comment.

Dave

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