Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling,calling for you and for me. See, on the portals He’s waiting and watchingwatching for you and for me.
Come home, come home, you who are weary, come home; Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling, calling, O sinner, come home!
I love this old hymn. We sang it often in my little Southern Baptist church in the suburbs of New Orleans.
Perhaps you grew up singing it too? It was one of those familiar end-of-the-service-hymns that just did an emotional number on your soul – a hymn chosen in hope – hope that if anyone in the congregation who hadn’t yet felt the call of Jesus on them, this would surely do it. And felt it I did, over and over. I probably hold some sort of world-record for walking more church aisles than any of my Presbyterian sisters. I was easily convinced that I was still a wretched sinner. Especially during the yearly revival. And, any previous aisle walking and sincerity often evaporated into thin air along this intrepid path to holiness.
And this was all before I was 12.
I lived with enough guilt as a child to assuage even my siblings’ guilt. I would sometimes confess to things I didn’t do because I thought – you never know – maybe I did do it – after all I was a known sleepwalker. I still remember the time my mother tried to convince me that I really wasn’t the culprit to an in-house-robbery-job.
But something must have happened to my heart during my teen years – I don’t think it was instant or intentional – but it happened none the less – where my guilt no longer bothered me – and the world looked much more loving and forgiving than my Atlanta church. So I chose the world. Happily, I chose the world. And they chose me back.
Now at this point you may think God quit calling. Perhaps you only get one or two shots at it, and if you reject him, then surely he has rejected you too. And then there are those really “big” sins, the ones too heinous in God’s sight to really forgive – so you eventually assume that you have crossed some proverbial line that brings you into the category of non-redeemable.
But, then Jesus – the one who walked this planet 2000+ years ago – kept calling. He proved himself to truly be the Good Shepherd who doesn’t give up on the lost sheep – the Father of thousands of prodigal daughters (and sons) – rejoicing greatly when His call on a prodigal FINALLY becomes effective.
Sometimes I think it just sounds too good to really be true. Jesus calling all sinners, come home. Is he really? Calling humans who seem to be doing just fine without his involvement and interaction? Calling a world that often times can seem so devoid of any sort of unified belief in the Triune God of the Bible?
I suppose it depends on your vantage point as to how you would answer that question (or questions). But as I sit in my private sanctuary and commune with an audience of One, reflecting on my own calling – that I like to refer to as my rescue – reflecting on the hardness and lostness of my own soul back at 22 years of age – I don’t think my story is all that exclusive to me – I think there are millions of prodigals out there wondering if the God of the universe could really love them knowing the depths of their depravity.
Wonder no longer. Amazingly and miraculously he continues to watch and wait and rescue and deliver and redeem. Over and over again. He never stops.
I know its true. It happened to me.
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there, if I make my bed in the depths, you are there (Psalm 139:7-8)