The Long Way Home
by: Chic Broersma
A pastor friend of mine was preparing for the usual Sunday morning worship. Anything but the usual followed. A thirty-year-old man Frank walked in and asked if he could stay for worship. Of course. He listened intently to a sermon on “run- away” Jonah. Afterward he confessed, “I’m running from God.”
Thereafter followed a 12-year period of counsel, Bible studies, prayer, phone calls, and emails. The young man’s journey home included many false starts. He was attempting to leave an addiction to a life of “reckless living” (Luke 15:13) in New York City, which included what the apostle Paul calls “shameless acts” with other men (Rom. 1:27). Then he was arrested for drunk driving for the fourth time. It would mean prison. A letter of appeal by the pastor to the court judge got him a term of community service with Teen Challenge. What followed can best be described as Frank’s experience of the Bible’s words, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away . . . the new has come” (2 Cor. 5:17).
Frank is the product of God’s transformative work in which he used the patient, loving care of a pastor; a pastor who played the role of a waiting, loving, forgiving father embracing a wayward son.
Frank still goes into the Big Apple, but now as a witness for the gospel, seeking to bring others into the new freedom he enjoys in Christ.