I’m affected by a prodigal; William Newell, born in the 1800’s. He was a prodigal son whose father finally imposed on R. A. Torrey to allow William to enroll at Moody Bible Institute. Dr. Torrey pointed out that MBI was a school not a reformatory, but, after laying out some rigid restrictions he took William as a project and did finally see great gains in the young man’s life.
William decided to put his testimony in poem form which was immediately set to music; that is the form in which it reached me. After listening three times through it on You Tube, my heart is stirred by the Holy Spirit, who directed the writing of “At Calvary” about 120 years ago—a song whose words echo pathos and victory through the years. “Mercy there was great, and grace was free; pardon there was multiplied to me. There my burdened soul found liberty, At Calvary.” A wonderful story of God’s promise to “work all things together for good,” I wonder if William and his father have been able to rejoice in this victory of a father who endured much and did not give up in obtaining help for his prodigal. In Heaven do they remember? I don’t know; I know they no longer feel the pain, but perhaps they rejoice in the victory.
Sometime ago I stopped by an assisted living place and met a lady who invited me in for a chat. Her husband was gone at the time – gone to the jail to see about their beloved grandson who was walking the way of the prodigal. Wish I had had this story to tell her.
I am thinking of another dear friend whose heart has been broken by a son who was in prison, was released, was imprisoned again, released, and the last I know he was in prison again.
Prayer: God, comfort the weary mothers and fathers who have to bear this burden. Give them assurance that you are faithful. You haven’t turned a deaf ear to their prayers. Be the “hound of heaven” to them, I pray.
“I fled Him down the nights and down the days
I fled Him down the arches of the years
I fled Him down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind, and in the midst of tears
I hid from him, and under running laughter.”
― Francis G. Thompson,