After my SSA friend Jeremy invited several 18-year-old guys to live with him in his new condo, things spiraled out of control. His younger housemates were the “bad kids” who’d grown up in our church but had been sneaking around doing whatever their parents did not permit at home. His condo became Party Central for those kids.
His housemates formed a band aptly called Debauchery, playing in local bars. They descended into a bad pattern of addiction. It was common to walk into the house and see someone passed out on the floor with some bottle or pipe alongside.
Amid this environment, one of Jeremy’s housemates, Drew, woke up unhappy one night. He suddenly realized that the substances he loved were not delivering as advertised. He was already experiencing painful consequences from abusing drugs and alcohol.
Remembering the way his parents had taught him to follow Jesus Christ, he had a prodigal son moment.
Drew spent over an hour crying out to God for forgiveness and help as he considered how to respond to his newfound thoughts. He couldn’t get away from the idea that he HAD to go home to his parents. So, like the prodigal son, Drew got up in the middle of the night and drove straight to his parents’ house, praying he would not run out of gas along the way.
He knocked on his parents’ door and announced that God had changed his heart, and he was actually following Jesus Christ now! They eagerly shared in his happiness and talked excitedly with him most of the night. He moved back home.
The following day I was driving on a highway at full speed when I got a call from Jeremy. “Are you sitting down?” he asked.
“Yes, but I am in my car driving over 55,” I answered.
He said, “Well, stay in your lane. Drew became a Christian last night, for real!”
I had tutored Drew in high school math and science, so I knew him well. Also, I had been praying for him to repent and believe the Good News of Jesus Christ. I drove straight to Drew’s workplace.
As soon as I walked in the door and before I could say anything, Drew said, “Yes, it’s true. I am a Christian now!” I knew Drew was absolutely sincere. There was no way he could fake this.
After rejoicing with him, I looked him straight in the eye and told him with all my love and joy: “Now pursue God with even more passion than what you gave to pursuing sin!”
Drew’s spiritual conversion experience had a profound impact on Jeremy. It totally destroyed the allure and story of his party house, too.
When I couldn’t stop Jeremy from going down a bad path and a bad story, God stopped him in His own way — that is, through a prodigal son named Drew.
Have you ever experienced a “prodigal son” moment — either yourself or someone close to you?
* Photo courtesy HarshLight, Creative Commons.