Column: Guest Column: By Eric Uggerud
Sometimes you just know you’re not home. I’ve lived in foreign countries. I remember longing for – among many other things – Taco Bell. There was just nothing like it where I lived!
But what about that feeling that you’re never home. On the outside, things could be going well. Or they could be going terribly. But on the inside there’s this persistent feeling that you’re not where you should be. I think we were all created to long for home. Even for those who want to move away from their current home, there is still a strong desire to find a new home.
What I’m talking about doesn’t have to do with geography. In all your efforts to find a suitable place to dwell, what if your soul isn’t satisfied?
It saddens me that so many people today have bought into the idea that the best way to find happiness is to pursue your own desires. It saddens me because if we simply pursue our own desires, we will miss the blessings of the home we were created for. Your soul will never be fully satisfied with the stuff of this world.
Jesus told a story in the Bible, in Luke 15, of a son who asked for his share of the inheritance, even before his father had died. His plan was to go away and pursue his desires. And he did. He lived it up – the Bible calls it “wild living.” But then he ran out of money and food.
That’s when he began to think of home again. He thought about how his father provided all that was needed. But how could he go home? What would Dad think?
Another thing that saddens me is that when people think of God they overlook his mercy and grace. And I get it – sometimes we Christians haven’t acted with mercy and grace. I’m guilty of that. But please know that God is the God of mercy and grace, as well as the God of truth. Our God is the God who calls people home. In his perfect truth, he knows there is a better life than the one apart from him. In his mercy and grace, he calls sinners home. And he doesn’t just call the ones we would think. You see, Jesus actually spent a lot of his time with religious outcasts. He earned himself a title: Friend of Sinners.
So I’m sorry if the Christians you’ve met haven’t lived up to God’s standard of mercy and grace. I know I haven’t lived up to that standard. I’m actually more like the wandering son in this story. I had a life picked out – a life that focused on my desires. But then I heard the call of my Father to come home.
In his song, “Come as You Are,” David Crowder depicts that call to sound like this:
“Come out of sadness
From wherever you’ve been
Come broken hearted
Let rescue begin
Come find your mercy
Oh sinner come kneel”
Those lyrics explain the offer from our heavenly Father – an offer to come home. That offer is repeated throughout the Bible. In fact, one of the last verses in the Bible says, “Whoever is thirsty, let him come,” Revelation 22:17.
That offer is for all who would recognize their need. In the David Crowder song, it says, “Oh sinner come kneel.” May we be humble enough to recognize that we have sinned and that we aren’t as good as we might think at guiding our own lives. But for sinners to come home, they have to turn around. That might sound distasteful to some, but it is the way to true life. We find forgiveness through the cross of Jesus Christ. God gives us new life – a life in which we can walk with Jesus.
In the story in Luke 15, the son returned and the father (who represents God) is thrilled to see his son come home. In fact, it looks like he was waiting and watching. When he saw his son, it says, “He ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” Then he threw a feast for him. The son wasn’t just allowed back. He was celebrated! The rescue had begun.
At Cornerstone Church, I’m preparing to preach a sermon this Sunday (at our 10:15 a.m. worship service) on this wonderful story from Luke 15. But I know the story is even better than the words I can use to describe it. I pray that you will know the loving embrace of your heavenly Father, who deeply desires for you to be home with him!
Eric Uggerud is a pastor at Cornerstone Church in Fergus Falls.