Come Home, Come Now!

8 11 2020

Kevin was nearly 20 years old when I met him, but with his boyish looks he could have easily passed for 16. A greasy blond mop of hair that had the appearance of not being washed for months; probably also the last time he had a bath. His thin frame told me he hadn’t eaten properly for quite a while. That was also evident when I took him to Micky D’s and he devoured his food at record speed. Kevin had left home two years prior in hopes of discovering new places and adventures far from his home in northern Kentucky. Instead, he found himself often homeless, or living with others that would abuse him by taking what money he had and then tossing him out. For a time, he lived in a tent until winter came along and it was too cold. But often he’d find himself behind bars in some town for petty crimes like vagrancy, shoplifting and the likes. 

When our paths crossed, he was trying to get his life straightened out. He hadn’t finished high school so he was taking adult classes to earn his G.E.D. Someone helped him get a job doing janitorial work, but it was several miles from where he was staying. I told him that as long as he was wiling to make an effort to do better, I would help him get back and forth to work and school. Someone else had taken him in that he trusted and I bought him new clothes for his job. As we rode together, we got to be friends and Kevin began opening up to me more. He told how he was pretty wild and wouldn’t listen to anything his parents wanted him to do. They had many fights and one night he slipped out the back door and hitchhiked to Florida. That didn’t turn out the way he hoped so next he moved to Michigan in hopes of a job. Again, failure was waiting for him there and he found himself walking the streets at night when he couldn’t get into a shelter. Next, he met a person who took him to Fort Wayne and used him as a punching bag whenever he got drunk. He finally found his way to our little lake community and landed in jail for 90 days. When he got out, he had no place to go and knew only a few people. He told how tired he was of this lifestyle and just wanted to go home. “Well Kevin, that sounds like the best thing you could do. So why don’t you?”  Looking down he answered softly, “I made my parents life a living hell and they would never take me back.” “Have you ever called and asked them if you could come home?” He shook his head, “No, they don’t want to hear from me.” “But you don’t know that. Personally, I think it would be the best place to pull your life together, and you just may be surprised at what they would say. Anyway, you’re never going to know if you don’t call.”

It was about a week later Kevin got hold of me to say once again the person he was staying with gave him the boot. Got it him set up with shelter for the night and told him we would go around the next day to the different shelters; something I could tell he wasn’t crazy about. Early in the day he told me he found another place to stay. I knew the place and far as I was concerned, it wasn’t good. “Kevin, please consider calling home and talking to your parents; buddy you don’t need to live this way anymore.” Hanging up, I felt like I wasted words, but I had try anyway.

Two days later Kevin gives me a call. “Could you take me home?” I thought he must me someplace where he wants a ride back to where he was staying. “No, I need a ride to Kentucky.” “What?!!! What’s going on, Kevin?” This place I’m staying is really dirty and I have to sleep on an old couch and the people here are never quiet to where I can get to sleep. So, I called home.” I think my heart skipped a beat. “What happened? What did they say?” He shared four words his mom said to him. “Come home. Come now.”

“Though our feelings come and go, God’s love for us does not.” C.S. Lewis.

Even though Kevin had rejected the ways, rules and love of his parents, they never stopped loving him. And I imagine, like any parent, they knew where he was most of the time and what he was going through. But forcing to come home would have been a mistake; it had to be his decision. God does that with each of us; no matter what you have done, how much you have rejected Him, He’s not going to stop loving you. But God is not going to force anyone to love Him and so He gives us a freewill to decide what we want and where we can go for true love. There is a quote by Phillip Yancey that describes me to a tee when I walked away from God for a while. “I rejected the church for a time because I found so little grace there. I returned because I found grace nowhere else.” “Faith means believing in advance what will only make sense in reverse.” Like Kevin, I was unhappy in my situation, that is until I walked away and was able to see just how much love I left behind. Over and over again we see His love for us in scriptures.

Psalm 36:7 “How precious is your steadfast love, O God!  The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.”

Romans 5:8 “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Romans 8:38–39 “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

We crossed the bridge and headed to a small border town in Kentucky; I could see Kevin’s excitement as he recognized all the places he grew up around and wanted to tell me all about them. When we reached his house, it looked as if no one was home. “My parents stay to the back of the house, but I know they’re there.” “Do you want me to go up the door with you?” “No, that’s okay, if they’re not here I’ll sit on the porch until they get back. You can go ahead and leave. Thank you for everything.” I pulled away but could see in the rearview mirror Kevin as he climbed the steps to the house. And there was his mom and dad meeting him. A few minutes later I got the text; “I got it!” Pulling over I wrote back, “I’m so glad you’re home.” A quick response; “Me too.”

Been a couple of years now but I still think about Kevin and how happy he was to go home. Perhaps there’s someone waiting for you, or you have a loved one you want to see come home. Don’t give up. Don’t stop loving. And if it’s God you’ve walked away from, tell me something. Are you really happy? I know our Lord is not, because His love never ends. He’s always ready to say to any of us, “Come Home. Come Now.”

See ya next time.




7 responses

9 11 2020
Charles Frisinger

Thanks for post John. I am working with Fellowship Missions now and see new stories all the time. Everybody has a story. It is ours to listen and, above all, love.

14 11 2020

Thank you Charlie, for your service in the name of our Lord.

9 11 2020

This is a wonderful story with great applications to the Christian faith, as always. Blessings!

9 11 2020
Scott Howington

John, Your story reminds me of our experience years ago in WL.  We had been counseling an unwed mother who had gotten a place in an apartment house (kind of rundown) too far from work.  She had to be at work before the buses ran.  So we had an agreement that she got up for work, I would take her and her daughter (who caught a minibus from the daycare to before school care) and leave Scott home getting our kids ready for school.  I would drop her off early…5:30 or before 6am.  It was a challenge, but obedience calls us for the moment, not knowing the outcome.  Was it worth it?  I hope it moved her closer in relationship with her heavenly Father. I know it was a stretching commitment for me.  Lost touch with Rebecca and her daughter, Elizabeth. My prayer is that after months of this she made a better life.  I trust Him with each one we love for Him!   ~charlene

14 11 2020
John MIller

Thank you for sharing Rebecca and Elizabeth with me.

10 11 2020

Thank you, that was beautiful!

10 11 2020
Beverly Crane

Very touching experience. Thank you for sharing John.

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