There you will find what you need
I'm the giver of life, I'll clothe you in white,
My immaculate bride you will be...
Oh come running home to me.
~ tenth avenue north lyrics
as much as i can relate to the parable of the prodigal child, i can relate to the runaway all the more. i have lived most of my life not as a prodigal wanderer, but as a runaway: running home to my Heavenly Father in the darkest hours of my life and yet, abandoning Him by dawn. fleeing to find fulfillment - and myself - apart from Him; striving to find my identity apart from Him. striving and failing; seeking wholeness and returning empty; time and time again.
one of my favorite films [of all time] is "Legends of the Fall" in which brad pitt portrays the character of tristan: a deeply troubled soul who, despite an intense love for his family -especially his father - is a perpetual runaway. he constantly flees the love and stability of his father's house and his father's love; often abruptly. no one is ever sure of where he has gone or for how long; no one knows when or even if he will ever return. yet, the scene of his repeated homecomings remain unchanged: his father stands and offers his outstretched arms, extending them to embrace his son with such fervor it causes tears to swell in our eyes; warmth to swell in our hearts. this father's fierce love and loyalty for his son is unwavering; rock solid through the repeated abandonment; the continual inconsistency. there is a steadfast gleam in his eyes: the unspoken hope and longing that each homecoming might be the last; that "this time", his child has come home to stay...
tristan's story is my story. the filmography depicting his heart is the autobiography of mine: everyone who knew him had long forsaken the hope of any consistency in his life, deeming him to be irretrievably lost; irreparably broken. he was the runaway to everyone... everyone except his father.
towards the end of the film, tristan returns... again. for good. inexplicably. his previous returnings were marked by a prevailing sense of despair, as if returning to his father's house and his father's arms were an act of temporal refuge. but this time, oh, this time something - everything - within him had changed. the peace within him is palpable. his father's love, unshakable. he has learned what i have learned: his father's house was where he had belonged all along; his father's love was the very thing he had sought and yet, at the same time, rejected. this last time was different because he was different: the wounds of his past were healed. a cleansing flood had occurred washing away his pain and with it, his desire to run; the need to flee.
i, too, rounded the corner home to my Heavenly Father this last time with a spirit unlike so many times before: my steps were not filled with despair, but with hope; not with begrudging obedience, but with longing for Him. something was different because i - by His grace - had been made different. though i was - and am - and will always be - unworthy of this love and this grace, He clothed me in His righteousness and deemed me worthy (phil 3:9). He did not call me a prodigal, nor did He call me a runaway.
He called me His own and He called me by name: Beloved.
we cannot run away from that which is within us, but our Heavenly Father can heal that which is within us and redeem our past for His glory. a father's love had healed tristan's wounded heart. our Heavenly Father's love healed mine...
He desires to heal yours, too.