Prodigal Son - with a twist or two...

Dan the Elder

Well-Known Member
Once I was a "Good Boy", a very good boy. I had three older sisters and my parents were determined to have a son. By the time I made my entrance, they were both in their forties. My Dad was a mail carrier in a mid western town; who after giving his heart to the Lord (shortly before my birth), decided to rent a storefront in the saloon district of that town and start a "mission". As far as "doctrine", my parents believed in Holiness. They had strong convictions and were very strict. My oldest sister hit her "rebellion stage" in her senior year of high school. Upon graduating she went her own way and nearly broke my parent's hearts -- and I was a witness. I loved my parents and had no desire to add to their hurt -- so "I toed the line"; did all the things they expected of me including "being saved and sanctified". I was a leader in the local "Youth for Christ" and they thought they had the "Ideal Son". But then I graduated. They had saved enough to send me to a church-affiliated university and suddenly I realized I was free from their "jurisdiction and scrutiny". I met other guys "like-minded" and we forgot the studying part and opted for the "have fun" curriculum. One semester and I was out.
So, now considering myself an "adult", I decided to find a job near Chicago where one of my sisters had moved. I found a job as a "Men's locker room manager" at an exclusive Golf Club in Winnetka, IL. The men who belonged to that club were very well off and generous. I received tips three times my meager "salary". So, of course I saved my salary and spent my tips. I dated the "Golf pro's daughter" and learned what it meant to party. It was here I was introduced to smoking, drinking and girls.
I actually tried college again but without any "goals". Looking for more excitement I joined the Air Force with a dream of becoming a pilot. Unfortunately, my "academic background" didn't prepare me for that dream; but the Air Force decided a had "Linguistic capabilities" and sent me to Yale for a year to study Mandarin Chinese. While in New Haven, I met a Catholic young lady who wanted to marry me. We positively had nothing in common but "physical attraction". I informed my parents who strongly advised against it. Her parents were not in favor either. She was 18, I was 21 and we eloped to New York and were married by a "justice of the peace". Shortly thereafter, I was deployed to Okinawa for two years and left my new wife home (expecting our first child). Although we were married for 30 years, it was always a tumultuous relationship. We had two girls and a son, but a dysfunctional family. I was not a good husband or father. God was not part of our lives.
While in the Air Force, I not only learned Chinese; they also taught me about computers and data processing. Upon discharge, I used these skills to get a very well-paying job (for those times).. We were living in a little New England village near a ski lodge. I was moving up the corporate ladder and "enjoying life", flying "Business Class" on 747's, eating at fancy restaurants (on the company). I was gone more than I was home; the booze didn't cost me anything and I was rapidly becoming an alcoholic. I thought I had really "Made It"; but then suddenly everything started falling apart. My marriage was already on the rocks, my job became insecure, and my life didn't look "rosey" anymore!
One day, I noticed what appeared to be people holding services in a tent. It reminded me of my childhood and then I realized they were actually building a church next to the tent. I watched their progress until the tent was gone and the church was a reality. One Sunday, I went to their service "just to see what it was like". I found out they were a group from Tennessee who had come to Massachusetts to build a Baptist Church. The Holy Spirit must have drawn me back there and then one Sunday, for the "Invitation" they sang "Softly and Tenderly, Jesus is calling. Calling, oh sinner come home". My heart said "They mean You"!! It was a surreal moment - the tears were rolling down my cheeks, I could hardly see but I stepped out and headed for the alter. I told Jesus I was sorry, I was tired of fighting, I surrendered -- He could have my life. I had such a sense of relief, freedom. I didn't realize what a burden of guilt I had been dragging around for years -- but now it was gone!
That was 40 years ago, and my life has never been the same. Oh, things were not all great afterwards (I was "downsized" by my company, my wife filed for divorce, and my children were turned against me); but I learned to put my trust in God. I now can relate to Job; it seemed like I had lost everything, BUT GOD blessed me with a wonderful Christian wife and a new family.
I recently heard a southern choir sing a song that went; "I once was a wretched, poor, naked thing; but now, Praise God, I'm a Child of the King", and another one that says: "Greatly Blessed, Highly Favored; imperfect But Forgiven Child of God"!! That's my story; what He did for me, He's willing to do for anyone who will Believe!!!


Everlasting Life

Through Faith in Jesus
It was a surreal moment - the tears were rolling down my cheeks.....

Dan, praise God for His grace and loving pursuit of you over your life! :dance2

Thankyou for sharing your testimony which tearfully reminded me that God is also faithful in so many other lives, of whom their loved ones are waiting for the Lord's work in.

How patient, gracious and good our Lord is. :bow