A Father’s Yearning Heart

His eyes squinted against the hot sun as he scanned the horizon.

For the hundredth time that day.? Just like he had every day for months.? Or was it years now?? Sometimes he thought he saw him, but it was only his deceitful imagination.? Or the heat shimmering.? He’d often seen a lone figure approaching and run to meet him.? As hard and fast as he could.? But he was always disappointed.? It was always only a trader or some other lone sojourner.

How long would he keep fanning this dying flame?? Surely the boy was dead.? It had been too long.? He’d expected him to come home in a month or two.? Maybe he would realize how good he’d had it.? The man thought maybe he despises me so much he won’t come back even if he’s starving.? Does he even think about us at all?

The young man had wanted his inheritance early.? He wanted his money now.? In other words, he wished I was dead.? The old man wasn’t angry though.? He just sat there with a gaping heart, gazing at the unchanging horizon.

The young man had been so confident.? So proud.? So godless.? Demanding, not even asking.? He didn’t even kiss me when he left.? Didn’t even thank me.? He just strode over the horizon, not looking back.? Oh, my son.

The man thought he detected the faintest speck of a solitary figure on the shimmering horizon.? Another illusion.? No, there it is again.? A silhouette, barely discernible.? Don’t hope, my heart.? You’ll only be crushed.? The figure plodded closer.? A man.? Head down.? Still a long way off.

He could barely begin to make out the features.? It looks like…could it possibly be?

Running across baking sand, heart pounding.? Streaming eyes.? I’m coming, my son!? I’m coming.

Sadness on the young sunken face.? Shame in the lowered eyes.? Dropping to his knees.? The father falling upon him, embracing, kissing the dirty neck.? My son, my son.

The two men slowly drew near the house, the father supporting the young man, who was gaunt, emaciated.? The father called the servants.? Draw a bath!? Get my best robe.? And my ring!? Kill the fattened calf!? Tell all my friends and neighbors. Tonight we celebrate!? For my son was dead, and now he’s alive!? He was lost, but now he’s found.

How our Father loves us.

photo by Allard One

Mark Altrogge

I’m a pastor at Saving Grace Church in Indiana, PA. I’m married to Kristi, have 5 kids, and a growing number of grandkids. I enjoy songwriting, oil painting and coffee, not necessarily in that order.