I will arise and go to my Father”
I believe it was Teddy Roosevelt who said he thought the story of the Prodigal Son was the greatest piece of literature ever written. It had all the ingredients to make it so. I personally was drawn to Christ from the preaching of this magnificent narrative.
Contrary to popular option, the son is not the main character, but the father. It was not the house the boy ached for, but his father. It was a person he was homesick for, not a place. As a teenage boy returning from Korea, it wasn’t the old dilapidated dwelling I longed for, but my precious little mother I yearned to see. Wherever she was, was home.
In a sermon by George H. Morrison entitled, “Homesickness of the Soul,” he tells the following story.
“One of the saddest letters in all literature is a letter written by our own poet, David Gray. David Gray was born eight miles from Glasgow; he went to the Free Church Normal in this city. His honest father would have made a preacher of him, but God forestalled that by making him a poet. Well, nothing would satisfy David but he must go to London. He suffered much there and fell into consumption. And this is one of his last letters home:— ‘Torquay, Jan. 6, 1861. Dear Parents,—I am coming home—homesick. I cannot stay from home any longer. What’s the good of me being so far from home and sick and ill? O God! I wish I were home never to leave it more! Tell everybody that I am coming back—no better: worse, worse. What’s about climate, about frost or snow or cold weather, when one’s at home? I wish I had never left it. . . . I have no money, and I want to get home, home, home. What shall I do, O God! Father, I shall steal to you again, because I did not use you rightly. . . . Will you forgive me? Do I ask that? . . . I have come through things that would make your hearts ache for me—things that I shall never tell to anybody but you, and you shall keep them secret as the grave. Get my own little room ready quick, quick; have it all tidy, and clean, and cosy, against my homecoming. I wish to die there, and nobody shall nurse me except my own dear mother, ever, ever again. O home, home, home!’”