In this series, I’ve been talking about being rescued by God’s mercy. Isaiah, the Evangelical Prophet, made it clear that God feels broken-hearted when his children rebel against him. To bring this home more clearly for us, I wrote a fictional story or parable of how a mother feels when her teen-age daughter rebels. It will be presented in four parts.
Let me know if you can relate to this.
The Runaway Part 1, based on Isaiah 1:8-15
“I’m sorry, Mom. Please let me come back.”
LuAnn sank into her chair as she recognized the voice. How long had she waited for this phone call? yet dreaded it?
“Where are you, Stephanie?”
She stalled for time to think. How could she say ‘no’ to her daughter? Yet, it hadn’t worked the last time, or the time before, or…
“I’m at the Post Office booth. I hitched a ride. Mom, I’m not on drugs anymore. I’ve been clean a whole two weeks. I promise it will go better this time.”
Lu Ann sighed. “You’d have to follow our house rules.”
“Of course. I know that.”
It seemed like deja vu. How many times had she heard this runaway promise to obey? The episodes of rebellion had begun at age thirteen: defiance, refusal to go with the family to church, sneaking out, smoking, and drinking. Then at fifteen the disappearing acts began. Lu Ann still had nightmares of calling the police, to “please find my daughter!”
Two months before her eighteenth birthday, she’d called …like this time. Lu Ann, over-joyed at her repentance, had said “Of course you can come back. We’ll always love you no matter what you do.” And she meant it. Life was beautiful—for a couple weeks.
Then the symptoms of rebellion had showed up again.
When Lu Ann reminded Stephanie of the house rule: “No pornography allowed in the house,” Stephanie blew up.
“You’re such a prude! How do you expect me to live in this jail? I’m not staying here.”
She threw some things into a suitcase and stormed out of the house before Lu Ann could think of what to do. Days later, she learned Stephanie had left with a boyfriend for places unknown.
Lu Ann hadn’t heard from her for three years since then. But a friend had heard gossip from a friend and felt compelled to share it with Lu Ann. It was not a pretty picture.
Let’s compare this to the scripture and think about it.
Isaiah1:3-4 says: “Even the animals — the donkey and the ox — know their owner and appreciate his care for them, but not my people. … They have cut themselves off from my help” (LB). How did Stephanie cut herself off from her mother’s help?
Read the parable Jesus told about the Prodigal Son in Luke 15. How do you think that father felt about his son’s rebellion?
Read Isaiah 1:2-8 again. How would you feel if your children left home, cut themselves off from your help, and refused to come back, not allowing you to help them out of the mess they fell into?
Read Nehemiah 9:5b-16. Does God have a right to expect us to follow certain rules? Why or why not?
Read Deut.4:1 What does God promise to Israelites who will obey his decrees and laws?
Lu Ann had prayed nearly every day, “Lord, please change Stephanie’s heart and bring her back to me?” Yet as time passed, she felt relieved she was gone. She’s over 18. I guess it’s okay for her to be on her own, she thought. She kept praying, but went on with life. Now she’s 21, and wants to come back. What should I do Lord? Do I have to take her back?
Would God take her back? Would you?
Dear LORD, forgive us for the times we have gone our own way, turning our backs on you, ignoring your rules, and refusing your love. Help us believe your love and return to you if we’ve not already done so. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Footnote: The National Runaway Switchboard (NRS) reports it handled 176,609 calls from or about runaway youth in 2007. Between 1.6 and 2.8 million youth run away in a year. )