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Please Come Home!

God's Timing is Perfect!

Jerald’s campsite blended in with the side of the tan, sandy, dry creek bed, and was partially hidden from view by the low-hanging branches of an old but prodigious sycamore tree. With a bit of careful camouflaging, his campsite was purposely hard to find. After years on the road, the tent was one of the few things Jerald had left. His fancy gear hadn’t survived the life of an enlightened hobo. There was nothing enlightened about his life now. A worn-out sleeping bag, an excellent large survival knife, matches, some Band-Aids, and a pack with the only clean clothes left from the last time he managed to use a washing machine.

Jerald knew he couldn’t endure much longer. What did it matter anyway? He was just another wasted life who stunk from not showering or shaving. 

Jerald sat on the fat end of a large sycamore branch he used as a seat, allowing his mind to drift to the one place he had vowed to forget and never think of again: home. The tears began to fall into the sandy stream bed. 

Jerald forced himself to stop crying and said, “Don’t you shed another tear, Jerald! That place doesn’t exist anymore!”

The family fell apart at his high school graduation. His mother disappeared …, and Jerald found his father dead drunk in the garage. The hard part turned out to be the complete absence of God. All those verses about having a plan for his life disappeared that night. Both parents abandoned him and his sisters, who ended up in foster care. Jerald was left to face the foreclosure.

It wasn’t long before he hit the road, and now he was sitting on a log in a dried-up stream bed. No, God was the worst of those who betrayed Jerald’s trust and expectations of a good life. He had promised the most of anyone and, to this day, hadn’t done anything to change Jerald’s opinion of Him.

Tomorrow, like Willie Nelson, he would be “On the Road Again.”

The Power of Prayer!

Jerald slowly came awake as a light illuminated the tent wall from outside, and he smelled bacon cooking. Cautiously, he lifted the tent flap and looked at the fire. A frying pan was settled securely on two of the big rocks he used when he cooked. A street person sat by the fire with his hand on the frying pan. His clothes were worse than Jerald’s. He was tall and sported a long gray beard, making his face look long, like one of those Ents in the Lord of the Rings. He wore a ratty-looking baseball cap with an old World War II Army Air Force patch.

“Are you going to get up and have some of this tasty bacon, Sport? Or are you just going to stare at me?” The man turned and looked at Jerald. “I didn’t mean to startle you. I thought maybe bacon would convince you I’m a harmless old man. Come on out. I don’t bite. We’ve got the bacon, a few eggs, and some fresh cinnamon rolls. And, of course, I brought some coffee.”

Jerald swung his feet out of the tent, stood up, and stretched. To the east, the very first indications of the day were beginning to show. There was a plate of bacon and eggs, a roll next to the sycamore branch, and a thermos of coffee stuck in the sand beside the branch.

Sitting across the fire from Jerald, the cook was digging into the eggs. A fork was in one hand, and a strip of bacon was in the other. Jerald just sat with the plate in one hand and the coffee cup in the other.

“Who are you?” Jerald asked, taking a sip of the coffee.

“Let’s just say I’m a friend. And, I have been for a very long time, Jerald. I’m here to help you understand a few things.”

Jerald unrolled part of the cinnamon roll and stuffed it into his mouth. The sugar frosting was so thick and warm that it got all over his hand. The old man handed a clean bandana across the fire, and Jerald said, “Thanks.”

Between mouthfuls, Jerald asked, “A few things? What’s that supposed to mean? The meaning of life? Who shot Kennedy?”

The man took a big gulp of the scalding coffee and didn’t flinch. “No, nothing as boring as that. This is about the prayers you prayed when your heart was broken many years ago. And the prayers your mother and father prayed from their broken hearts. Those prayers are being answered now.”

“I don’t believe in God! Or prayer! None of that nonsense my parents brainwashed me with ever worked!” 

The old man smiled and dropped two pieces of bacon onto Jerald’s plate. “Yes, I know how much pain you went through. Like I said, I have been your friend since the beginning. But The Father didn’t ignore you. It just wasn’t the right time to answer your prayers. Or your parent’s and sister’s prayers.”

“What do you mean ‘the beginning?” I only just met you. I’ve never seen you before. And how did you know I have sisters?” 

The Timing is right!

The old man put down his plate and stood up to his full height, startling Jerald. Suddenly, he didn’t look so old. The beard was still there, and the clothes were still shabby, but with the morning light revealing more of the true nature of the man standing before him, Jerald’s attitude became fear and awe.

The beard was shorter and well-defined, sharply contrasting the youthful and shining face of the old man’s image. And, even though the clothes were shabby, they looked new. 

The new old man knelt to Jerald’s level and quietly said, “Come with me if you want your life back.”

He held out his hand and, in a daze, Jerald took hold of it.

Instantly, the two of them were standing in the living room of a modern, nicely appointed home. Jerald and the old man stood over his two sisters dressed in high school graduation gowns. They were sitting on a couch together with a footstool pulled up close. Three pictures of Jerald and their parents were before them, and they were praying over them. They were both crying silently.

Jerald wanted to reach out and touch his sisters, but the scene changed to another place. It was a coffee shop filled with people meeting, engaging, and living. They were standing next to a table with four men. Three had their Bibles on the table and their cups of coffee. The fourth man was blind, and his white cane leaned up against the end of the table. His face showed he was uncomfortable as the three other men reached out, put their hands on his, and began to pray.

That was when Jerald recognized that one of the three men was his father. As he watched, the blind man jolted as if touched by an electric shock and jumped up from his chair. He reached up to his face and looked at the three men with astonishment. He could see again! The three men stood, laughing and embracing the ex-blind man.

But, in the middle of the joy, Jerald saw his father hesitate and then step back. His face had changed from the celebration he was experiencing to one of surprise. He stepped back and turned to look around the room as if looking for something. Then, his eyes settled on Jerald. Jerald’s father could see him! They looked into each other’s eyes until his father began to tear up and silently mouthed, “Come home.”

Jerald wanted to stay and look at his father, a completely different man. But then his father looked away and seemed to shout something at someone off to the side. Quickly, his mother was standing next to his father, and she could see him, too. Tears were flowing from both of his parents’ eyes. But they were happy and holding each other, and his mother smiled and gave Jerald a look only a mother could provide. She said, “We love you. Please come home.”

Who to thank?

Jerald found himself alone, standing in the creek bed. The only sign the old man had been there was an empty coffee cup and half a strip of bacon sitting near the fire. And next to the coffee cup was a business card.

Embossed on the front were golden wings under the card’s gold lettering. It said, “Aloysius Justice,” CEO of Justice Guardian Services. A motto was across the bottom of the card in small lettering: “You Pray, we Play.” Two addresses and phone numbers were written in beautiful calligraphy on the back of the card. And, at the bottom, in block printing, “Healings depend on His perfect timing.”


Salvation – Eternal Life in Less Than 150 Words

Please Read/Respond to Comments – on Medium

AuthorDerek Hastings | BCWorldview.org 

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