Sometimes, life’s roads are smooth, like they were freshly paved with asphalt the night before we arrived. The fresh white lines seem painted just for us, to hedge us in and keep us safe.
Other times our roads involve traffic jams, a lost signal warning from our GPS, running out of gas, twenty-seven potty stops, and broken heels on your best pair of shoes.
Last July, my oldest daughter turned 16 years old. For over a year we had entered every lottery you could find trying to win tickets to the hip-hop smash hit Broadway musical, Hamilton. One day I sat at my computer and decided that sweet 16 called for a mother-daughter adventure to Chicago. I got out my credit card and entered the number “2” in the proper field to procure a pair of tickets for July 18.
We had the best time, and when I say the “best time,” I mean laughing-so-hard-Chicago-hot-dog-vendors-looked-at-us-funny-because-of-the-tears-running-down-our-faces best time. We walked into a not-quite-clean downtown McDonald’s restroom to change into our Broadway show appropriate dress clothes and shoes from our running around to see all the sites tourist clothes and sensible walking shoes. Upon walking out of the restroom, my very favorite pair of kicky red heels broke.
There is nothing quite like hobbling through city streets on a broken shoe during rush hour. It’s an easy way to draw stares at the very least. For whatever reason, probably the embarrassment factor, the image that came to mind as Macee and I not-so-artfully made our way to the nearest shoe store was that of a long ago-son who hobbled his way home to tell his father he had messed up and messed up royally.
Some of us have been on a very obvious prodigal road at least once in our lives. We have stood waist-deep in mud of our own making, wondering if our father, our mother, our friends, our church would ever accept us back, ever want us.
But still more of us have been on less obvious prodigal roads, with maybe just a broken heel or a broken heart. We have sat on a bed somewhere or looked in a mirror wondering if we were lovable, or if we just looked like a ridiculous tourist with a broken red heel to all those passing by.
What place does embarrassment have in keeping us from pouring out our problems, our sin, and our struggles to God?
I’d be willing to bet the answer is a whole lot.
Luke 15 is where we find this son hobbling home. His embarrassment is ours, whether our sins be great and visible or great and hidden.
Verse 20 in Luke 15 tells us that the father looks off in the distance, waiting for his son’s return, and, when that son finally simply turns himself around and hobbles back up the same road he ran away on, the father runs, not walks, not lollygags, but runs to kiss that man-child all over his embarrassed face, hugs his embarrassed neck, and covers his embarrassed self with love, love, more love, and forgiveness.
Whatever road we stand on in this life, God runs to meet us.
He comes to forgive us, to comfort us, to discipline us, and to restore us every time in Jesus Christ.
He meets us and He leads us through every path, in every moment.
But we need the Word of God and one another to help each other see it, so let’s spend the next six weeks doing that, together.
Thanks for joining us for He Leads: A Study of Roads.
Let’s get the conversation going. In the comments, name a mistake, a detour, a decision, or a struggle, whether your own or simply alive and well in the world, that embarrasses us just enough to keep us believing He wouldn’t want to meet us on that road.
We’ll respond to each sin with -
It’s our mantra throughout the study. It reminds us He’s right there. He’s running toward us, no matter the road, no matter the brokenness in our lives. He’s running. He leads.
Up Next: We Win
In the meantime: check out the video for Week 1 for He Leads: A Study of Roads - Welcoming Visitors