Has it been a really long time since you’ve seen your child? Do your eyes long to see them, your arms ache to hold them? Are they deep into addiction; in a mental hospital; incarcerated; estranged from you for some reason? Has it been quite awhile since they wanted to be with you so much that they hugged you in tears? Maybe you don’t think this could ever possibly happen.
The Old Testament tells us about a parent who got a big surprise one day:
“. . . As soon as Joseph appeared before him (Jacob, the father he hadn’t seen in twenty years since his brothers sold him off as a slave), he threw his arms around his father and wept for a long time (Genesis 46:29b).”
The father in this verse thought his son was long dead. He’d grieved the loss and moved on. He certainly never imagined this day was possible. I’m sure he never asked God for it either. It was over. Done.
But you never know what tomorrow holds. Tomorrow just might have a surprise for you. When God is involved, things you never thought possible could happen.
I remember a time when my daughter, then 19, had relapsed after four months in rehab and some time in a half-way house. She was out on the streets again and didn’t want anything to do with her dad or me. She was deeply involved in drug and alcohol abuse; was a self-injurer (cutting) and bipolar (untreated).
I knew the risks of losing her were high. In my heart I felt as though she’d already died. I began grieving her death. It was an agonizing time of deep pain. I held out little hope for a loving reconciliation, though my whole being longed for it. I knew God could do it, but would it happen for us?
Then something amazing happened. A totally unexpected surprise I never saw coming. After a chain of events, my daughter agreed to go into another rehab program. We received word of these things through a mutual friend who was trying to help her.
The day of being reunited finally came (at her request – also amazing). I wondered if she would be happy to see me or not? How would she treat me? I didn’t know what to think.
I’ll never forget it. I walked into the dining area of the rehab program and as soon as my daughter saw me she came running, arms open wide, with a huge smile on her face. She threw her arms around my neck, and in tears hugged me so tight I could hardly breathe.
While we embraced, both of us crying, she whispered in my ear, “Mom, I love you soooo much! I’m so, so sorry I hurt you and dad. I can’t thank you enough for coming. It means so much to me!”
Things haven’t been perfect since then. We’ve had our ups and downs on the road to recovery, but our loving relationship has never relapsed. Every time we see each other she always gives both of us great big bear hugs – sometimes, there are tears.
Hold on dear parent. You never know what tomorrow holds. God just might be preparing a surprise for you, too!
O God, help each mom or dad reading this not lose hope and give up. Help them believe you could surprise them – even tomorrow. Encourage them as they read this post. You could reconcile them with their child, too. You could bring them home with a big hug any day. Strengthen them to wait one more day, and then another.
By your power and outstretched arm.