When a youth lost his way and ended up having squandered the inheritance he had received from his father, he came to his senses and said, “I’m starving here; I’m going home to my father.” Jesus told the story. We call it the parable or the story of the lost son.
Frankly, nothing much really changes. There are thousands today who have lost their way, and when they hit the bottom they start asking, “How did I get here, anyway? And is there a way out of my distress?” They want to know if God is really there and how can they gain some purpose in life.
Frankly, if I were at that point in life, as perhaps you may be, there are some questions I would ask myself.
First, I would ask, “Who put the longing in my heart to know God?”
The very thought tells me that I am not merely homo sapiens, an animal perhaps a bit more highly developed than most mammals, but a person. The Bible says I was created in the image of God. People from every culture which anthropologists have studied have believed in some kind of a god somewhere.
Question #2: I would ask, “Who created this beautiful world, anyway?”
Anselm, an eleventh-century Benedictine monk, argued strongly that one of the many pieces of evidence for God–proofs is too strong a word–is that the order and symmetry of our world demands a creator. A watch with its intricate mechanism bears witness that someone with intelligence put it together. Today, even scientists who do not believe in God recognize the intelligent design of our world, a position that has a trail leading from it to the Creator Himself.
When he came to his senses, he said, “How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!” Luke 15:17
Question #3: I would ask myself, “Who gave me the intelligence and the emotions to reason, think, and love?
The human body is an amazingly complex mechanism–the interface of the brain with your nervous system, the ability of your heart to sustain life, the composition of the blood which carries oxygen to your heart, and the complexity of your emotions which give vent to strong feelings and paint the landscape of life with vivid colors.
Question #4: The fourth question I would ask myself would be, “Is there an opposite to what I abhor in life?”
Most people never ask the question involving opposites, yet it’s important to do so. The day is balanced by night; heat by cold, strength by weakness, and good by evil. While God often gets the blame for the evil, there has to be an opposite which accounts for the evil in our world.
Dr. C.E.M. Joad (1891-1953) headed the Department of Philosophy at Birbeck College, London. He was a psychologist, philosopher, and thinker. He was also an agnostic. Following the end of World War II, Joad entered some of the concentration camps of Europe, and what he saw was abhorrent beyond description. He could not believe that anyone would treat his fellowman as the Nazis treated the Jews. He began thinking that this horrible evil which he saw in humankind had to have the opposite. He reasoned that there must be a God who stands in opposition to all that he saw, and he set out to find Him. He did, embracing Jesus Christ as God’s Son.
Finally, I would ask myself, “Who is this Jesus Christ?”
John says that God so loved the world He gave His one and only Son to be the Savior of the world. I would want to know, “Was He God?” and if so, “Did He die for my sins and failure?”
The prodigal–the young man who had lost his way–came to his senses, and that’s what you, too, must-do if you would find your way back home. God gave you a brain. Use it. Think! You’re the only one who can do an about-face and start walking towards home.
Resource reading: Luke 15:11-31