The Prodigal Son

Moody writes: 

I was about to close the meeting of the Young Men’s Christian Association in Chicago when a man stood up and asked to speak. I had never seen him before, nor did I see him later.

“Young men,” he said, “I was my parents’ only son. They held morning and evening devotions, and my father prayed for me. That was abhorrent to me. I was disobedient, and after my father’s death, I caused my mother a lot of grief. She would often wrap her arm tenderly around my neck and say to me: ‘If only you would stay at home for devotions; then I would be the happiest of mothers. It breaks my heart every time you go away.’

I turned away, saying, ‘Mother, I have to sow my wild oats for a while yet, and then I want to become a Christian.’ 

Sometimes I would come home after midnight and still find my mother awake, for she had been waiting for me. She didn’t reproach me. But I could see that she was deeply saddened. And sometimes I heard her praying: ‘O God, save my son!’

I had no choice but to either convert or escape her prayers. So I left home. 

One day, I heard that my mother had fallen ill. I knew very well that my behavior was to blame for her illness. My first impulse was to visit her. But then, I thought again, I would have to convert, and my pride was afraid of that. Months went by, and I heard again that my mother was very unwell. Then I said to myself: ‘If my mother dies, I will never be able to forgive myself! That would break my heart!’

There was no train to my home. So I took a carriage and arrived at my destination in the evening by moonlight. I had to walk through the cemetery. I thought I would look for my father’s grave and see if there was another grave right next to it. My heart was pounding as I approached the spot. – I approached trembling. – Yes, there really was a new grave. I knew it was my mother’s!

‘Who will pray for me now?’ I exclaimed in tears. ‘Who will worry about my soul not being lost now that my parents’ love is no longer there?’

I spent the whole night out there crying and praying. Oh, if only I could have called my mother back! I would have wrapped my arms around her neck. I would have given the whole world to still have her. I cried out to God for forgiveness, and God had mercy on me. As the day began to dawn, faith in Jesus flowed into my heart along with the physical light. Yes, God had forgiven me,” the narrator concluded, “but I still mourn my mother today and will mourn her for the rest of my life. I cannot forgive myself for what she suffered for my sake.” –

Oh, how much misery people cause themselves when they waste the best years of their lives apart from God, and then have to spend their days in remorse because they brought so much grief to their godly parents!

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