Come Home

Lindsey Jodts, Groups Pastor, South Barrington | September 1, 2023

Rend your heart
    and not your garments.
Return to the Lord your God,
    for he is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love,
    and he relents from sending calamity. 
Joel 2:13

So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. 
Luke 15:20

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit intercedes for us through wordless groans. 
Romans 8:26

“I need you to pray for me.” 

A seven-word email that changed my life forever. Just moments before, I had been huddled on the floor of my studio apartment, crying, alone, and contemplating the end of my life. I had gotten home from a long day of something—working, partying, wandering, possibly all three—and realized something with crystal clarity: If this is all there is to life, I am not interested. 

Ten years prior, I had been the picture of a good, Christian teen. I did the right things, said the right things, knew the rules, knew what face to wear when. But soon after, trauma, harm, and toxic dynamics sent me fleeing the church, my home, and anything that reminded me of either. Then I spiraled. I sought pleasure, relief, and camaraderie in anything that offered it. For nearly a decade, I was a complete shadow of the girl I had been. 

Then I came to the night of the email. I had reached the end of my rope—I was exhausted, broke, sick, and alone. Every effort I had made, every pursuit I had chased, all for nothing. I don’t want to be here anymore. 

And yet. 

Somewhere in the back of my mind, as broken and shattered as I felt, there was a voice that reminded me of the people who, once upon a time, reminded me that I was still welcome in the presence of Jesus. 

So I stood up and sent an email to one of those people with only those seven words: I need you to pray for me. I had nothing else to say, nothing else to ask. And somehow, as broken as I was, I knew it mattered. I knew it would change something. Why was it, after all this time, that my only instinct was to pray? To reach out to the God of the universe without words, without answers, just the need for God’s presence?

That was my coming home. I grieved my sins, wept at the feet of Jesus, and surrendered it all. I realized that, although I had run far and fast away from God, there had never been a moment that God had moved away from me. Jesus was just waiting for me to come home.

Next Steps 

Who in your life feels like they are far from God? A family member, a friend, a public figure—maybe it’s you. Spend time praying in anticipation of their coming home, trusting in the promise that God is waiting to compassionately welcome them with open arms.