Safely Home: A Wednesday Night Parable.The Phantom Intercessor - 20 Jun 2011
Just a few minutes were left in our shift when I spotted him. As we walked closer, the dim streetlight confirmed my suspicions. The young man was indeed laying flat on the sidewalk in a puddle of his own vomit and urine. “Mate, let’s get you off the ground.” As I hoisted him to his feet, I couldn’t help but chuckle at the combination of my very American accent instinctively uttering the word ‘mate’ and the fact that my hoodie was now moistened by someone else’s bodily fluids.
After a few too many drinks, my new friend and his mate needed a bit of assistance. I looked after our damp friend- pouring water into his mouth, wiping the puke from his hands, and trying to keep him awake… while my teammate Chris handled the task of informing a concerned mother that her inebriated son would be receiving a complimentary ride home from a Christian charity. Another phone call to our van driver, and we had arranged to give our friend a lift back to his hotel.
Twenty minutes later, one arm over my shoulder, one arm over Chris’, and a slightly more sober companion following behind, our friend was reunited with his family. His mother lunged forward, swinging open the glass door to thank us. You could see the sense of relief wash over her face because her son was safely home. Refusing to take the money from her hand, we offered to help get her son to bed. As the little brother guided me up the stairs, he revealed that he had been crying since they got the call. He was afraid his brother wouldn’t arrive safely home.
I assured the little boy that everything would be okay and the teenager trotting behind me that the family was grateful for their son’s return. The more sober of our underage friends was terrified that the mother would be angry with him because they were out drinking. “I’m so sorry, they kept letting us into bars and we had a few too many”, he confessed. To the sixteen-year-old’s surprise, his mate’s mother thanked him profusely and even offered to pay for his cab back to his family’s hotel.
Leaving one our new friends safe in his mother’s arms and the other at a taxi stand to return to his family, Chris and I headed back to the prayer room to send out our teammates for their hour shift in the streets.
“What are you thinking?” A short question with a long answer. “I’m thinking that our friend is lucky to have a mother that cares for him. And, if his mother is that grateful to have her son home in her arms -even though he is a complete mess- how much more does our heavenly Father celebrate when his messy children return to Him?”
We have been given the spirit of adoption, and we can cry out “Abba”, knowing that our Father will respond. No matter how much of a mess we get ourselves into, He stands at the door, awaiting our return with outstretched arms. A cloak, sandals, a ring of authority, and a feast await the wayward son. And every time a prodigal returns home from a rough time in the streets, the Father rejoices and welcomes Him back with a sigh of relief. The Promise of the Father is that the Holy Spirit will guide His children home… the young will see visions, the old will dream dreams, and men and women will prophesy proclaiming the truth of their salvation… and this is the promise to all God’s children no matter how near or far off. The promise is that those who cry ‘Abba father’ and run to His arms will be sons and daughters of the Most High - co-heirs in a heavenly Kingdom, able to climb into the lap of a perfect King. (Scriptural basis found in Romans 8, Matthew 15, Acts 2, Matthew 7, Hebrews 4 and others).
The picture of a child covered in his own sick returning to the arms of a loving mother reminded me of the Father’s heart for His children… but it was the little brother that really challenged me. This twelve-year-old kid wept, concerned that his brother wouldn’t return home. He stayed at the door, waiting with his mother and was ready to help care for his sick sibling in any way he could. I personally understand that my Father loves me, but am I willing to take the role of the little brother in this modern day parable? Am I crying out for my siblings who have yet to call upon their Father and return to His arms? Am I willing to help in whatever way I can to help bring my fellow sons and daughters home, no matter how messy they may be?
Blown away by this image of the Father’s love, the implications of our adoption as His children and His desire to carry us home… we continued to pray. Chris extemporaneously strummed a prophetic song on the guitar, and I prayed through some scripture – asking our Father to lead His children home into the safety of His arms. Our hour in prayer went quickly, and soon it was time to switch shifts and return to the streets.
An hour in the prayer room, an hour in the streets, repeat until the night quiets down and people are safely home- the rhythm of a night out with 24-7 Ibiza.