Category Archives: Prodigal



When we are invited into the “fellowship of His sufferings” and the “gospel of weakness” is preached to our soul and makes us its convert, and, like Job, we are left with hanging hands, questioning heart and smitten soul…we need to be able to face the most urgent questions of our lifetime.




The Psalmist said,

“it is GOOD for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn to trust Your ways.”
Psa 119:71

He preceded that with this stunning piece of insight:

“YOU ARE GOOD, and You do good…”
Psa 119:68

(Notice the order; we want to reverse those clauses)

Allow me to share some insights God showed me recently from Romans 8:18-39 – one of Paul’s strongest sermons ever.

Go ahead and read it. I’ll wait…


I saw it again recently. It wasn’t overt; it was subtle, not evident. But it was there, even if only a flicker or quickly passing guarded judgment.

I opened a gate into my personal space for a friend I hadn’t seen in many years. I chatted about our lives, what’s been happening…and the truest and most painful update of all. I revealed to them that we buried our son – who they remembered as a young child – the weekend of Christmas, each revelation more difficult and dark. Might as well say it all, I was thinking. Someone said, “there’s no valor in faking it; there’s tremendous valor in facing it.”

So I faced it.

“Our son was a heroin addict. He died of an overdose.”

It was there. I saw it. The quick unspoken interview, dying to ask, holding back, not wanting to judge, but still…

How did that happen?
(He was such a sweet child)
What drove him to drugs?
(It had to be something in his upbringing)
How could you, the gatekeepers of everything that influenced him, his protectors, his spiritual guardians, let him sink so low?
(Couldn’t you see the signs?)

All that in the quiet space of about two hundredths of a micro-second. I saw it. I could tell. Then I thought, I know what you’re thinking because those are the very first questions – even accusations – that would pop into my head if I were sitting where you’re sitting.

This time I didn’t react to the look and quickly go to a defensive tack and say how it was the bent of his heart mixed with bad company, adding to that the “mark of Cain” of being given up for adoption, placed in a minister’s home, and calling a disabled man “Dad.”

What I did, instead, was to say that the Father saw my son – yes, with a needle in his arm and hating himself for it (I know he did) – He saw the pain in his soul and heard his cry for mercy and RAN to him, met him in the back seat where he was all alone on a Minnesota December morning, and, as his life was ebbing away, said, “Graham Scott, you’ve had enough of this pig sty, and I’m going to do two things: I’m going to hug you with the stench of offal and sour earth still on you, yes; and then I’m going to escort you to the kingdom I’ve prepared for you.”

I told my friend that God is a Good Father, a Gracious King and a merciful Rescuer. I told my friend that Sandy and I, though wrecked with an earthly grief that persists to this morning and beyond, we’re confident that even in this God is good. That is STILL TRUE. Taking Graham from us was an incredible act of mercy on His part.




And now, perhaps one or two are having a similar internal dialogue in response to what I’ve just said.

Wait. Your son was an addict. He died from a heroin high. He had been partying with friends. How is it you’re so sure he’s with God?

I have to tell you, when I got inboxed on Facebook from Graham’s birth mother on the day he was found in that pitiful condition, saying that he was on life support but no other info was available to her, that when I finally was able to get through to her, understood that our boy was grave and the next 24 to 48 hours were critical.

My first thought?
Oh, God, what if he dies (didn’t know he was already gone)?
Lord, will our boy be with you?

My theology doesn’t allow for a “say a prayer” one-and-done salvation. It is constructed of the message of the Kingdom, that salvation is “from faith to faith” and thoroughly “from first to last.”

I suppose you can see the conflict, knowing what you know now.

Lord God, Father of mercies, what will become of my son?

And, as sure as a burning bush glowed in my dining room, as sure as if an angel made an entrance into my space and time, as sure as Elijah hiding out in a mountain cranny, the Father’s Word split through the gauzy mist of the moment and reassured me.

Psalms 85:2-3,10
[I] forgave the iniquity of your [son];
[I] covered all [his] sin.
(Now I can say:)
You withdrew all your wrath;
you turned from your hot anger.
[Your] steadfast love and faith meet;
[Your] righteousness and peace kiss each other.

I read those words from that day’s scripture on my Bible app and knew without a shred of doubt that my son was in that moment dressed in white, being carried by angels and laid at the feet of sinful man’s Redeemer and Eternal Hope. There Graham bowed and was hugged by God Himself.

How can this be?
How can God call “holy” that which, from all appearances, seems so unholy?
Does He, then, save everyone, universally, unconditionally, no questions asked?

Well, no, of course not.

What “saves” us?

Romans 8:24 says “hope” saves us. Hope in something we can’t see.


Specifically, the “redemption of our bodies” (v23) is what the saved hope for. What, then, does this entail?

(1) Firstly, The understanding that there’s something past the grave, that death doesn’t end it.

(2) Secondly, The submission to the truth that we need something outside ourselves to extend our lives on into eternity, namely a Somebody, a Redeemer.

(3) Thirdly, The recognition that there’s something in us worth redeeming, that we are not lost causes.

(4) Fourthly, The sometimes-painful truth that what we see now is not the finished product, that the Father obligates Himself – through our yielding and repentances – to make us fit for eternity

The apostle says hope that can be seen with our natural sight is not the hope he’s referring to. Thank God THAT’S not what saves us! If we have hope of future glory based solely on going to church, being moral, living clean, minding our tongue, giving to charities, and the like, we’d be sunk.

Where the Lord looks – not where we can see – is into the heart. If Graham walked in here this morning, looking the way he did before December 16, 2013, most of us would see a lost soul. Covered in tattoos, fully sleeved, face, neck, legs and hands, thick with the cloying smell of nicotine, pants sagging, and ghetto-speak, we’d start praying for his soul.

And I’d be praying right along with you!

It’s sad that many of us put ALL our trust in our performance to save us rather than God’s foreknowledge and grace. In the end, when we appear before the King Who Reigns – and all of us will – the question (forget the St. Peter at the gate jokes) that will be asked will be “What did you do with My Son?” and the only response accepted will be “I looked to Him and cried out for His mercies to save me from beginning to end.”

The Father will say “I know. I saw you choose My Son before you were even born. It was in eternity past that I elected you based on your disposition toward My Son. Enter into the joy of the Eternal Kingdom!”

The woman of Sychar wouldn’t pass inspection either. But Jesus wouldn’t write her off. Nor would the woman who was face-planted at the feet of Jesus in John 8 be most churches’ candidate for membership. But Jesus wouldn’t condemn her. The shady woman that interrupted a dinner party in Luke 7 wouldn’t make the grade but Jesus didn’t interrupt her love-fest on His feet. I’ll bet most of the Twelve who were in Jesus’ band wouldn’t be our cup of tea either, but they were the Master’s Men.

Yeah, one was a devil…and we know he’s in hell.

What you’re thinking is what I assure you I still preach: “but,” you say, “the woman at the well surely ceased her wild ways, the woman of John 8 who got a divine reprieve most likely took Christ’s counsel to heart and repented, the grateful whore of Luke 7 certainly mended her ways, and the disciples were noticeably different after having been with Jesus.”

Yes. All that is true.

I twice warned my son “as long as you’re looking for a way OUT instead of the way HOME, you’ll always remain a prodigal.”

The Father, it says, “searches the hearts” (v27) and who are we to “condemn His elect?” (V33) because “it is God who justifies” whom He will (v33) and who He justifies,”He also glorifies” (v30).

These great verses are preceded by one very important qualifier: God offers His Holy Spirit to help the weak (v26). We’re too weak to save ourselves. We’re even too weak to hope for the redemption of our bodies! We need God to accomplish in us what we are too weak to do for ourselves.

Andrew Murray, in The Two Covenants, wrote long ago:

“There are some still looking wistfully at this blessed life [New Covenant], and yet afraid to trust themselves to this wondrous grace. They have a conception of faith as something great and mighty, and they know and feel that theirs is not such. And so their feebleness remains an insuperable barrier to their inheriting the promise. Let me try and say once again: Brother, the act of faith, by which you accept and enter this life in the New Covenant, is not commonly an act of power, but often of weakness and fear and much trembling. And even in the midst of all this feebleness, it is not an act in your strength [that saves], but in a secret and perhaps unfelt strength, which Jesus – the Surety of the Covenant – gives you.”

The Spirit in the believer “groans” for the believer to be fitted for eternity, to make it Home (v26). Do you think any of the Holy Spirit’s prayers will be unanswered? Of course not! Verse 27 tells us that the Holy Spirit prays according to the will of the Father! AND GETS RESULTS! (Grk meaning)

What is the Father’s will?

(1) To call sinners too weak to save themselves.
(2) To justify sinners too weak to reconcile themselves to God
(3) To transform sinners into holy beings.
(4) To make us overcomers in this life.
(5) To give sainted sinners the same glory He gives His Son.
(6) To pray us into His eternity (vv27,34).
(7) To remove all condemnation by making us His own, and loving us unconditionally and never letting us go.

What if the elect don’t look elect?
What if they do not overcome in this life?
Can there still be hope?

Remember, hope that is logical, *makes* sense, *looks* like hope, *holds up* to our standard of hope…still hasn’t even come close to the Hope of Christ. Isn’t that amazing?

His Hope accomplishes “ALL THESE THINGS”.
The reason we can overcome in “ALL THESE THINGS” (v35) is because of ALL THESE THINGS:

“The Lord searches and knows our hearts” and still accepts us (v27)
“The Lord sees our weakness” and helps us (v26)
“The Lord intercedes for the saints” (v27)
“The Lord works it all together for our good”(v28)
“The Lord elects”
“The Lord predestines”
“The Lord conforms” (v29)
“The Lord calls”
“The Lord justifies”
“The Lord glorifies”(v30)

What is the common factor in all those blessed promises? What is constant?

Our salvation – from first to last – is the Lord’s doing! It’s all of grace! Not of works, else we’d make salvation less divine and more human. God prophesied that He’d take our hearts of stone and make them flesh…FOR HIS GLORY! (Ezk 36:25,26)

But isn’t there some expectation that those who have had heart transplants (I.e., born again) should walk in holiness?

I say amen.

Am I resetting the standard just because it’s my son? No, and God hasn’t reset His either. Not by a long shot.

That’s why my son was taken out of this earth – he put himself under the severest discipline of the Lord who is both merciful and “severe” (Rom 11:22) and committed the “sin that is unto death” (1Jn 5:16). How God handled Graham Scott in the end shows us two things:

(1) God saves “sinners”, that salvation is messy because it forgives the unforgivable, and,

(2) whom God saves, He lays claim to, and has rights to, He owns and can treat how He will (we know from the Romans 8 passage that He only deals with His own in love).

>The Lord searches the hearts
>The Lord knows who belongs to Him (2Ti 2:19)
>God is FOR His own
>No charge, no accusation, no condemnation stands up against His decree

If you’re struggling with condemning thoughts, do THREE things:

(1) Examine yourself, whether you’re in the faith

The quickest way to determine this is to answer “Who/What are you trusting for your day to day strength and eternal destiny?”

(2) Exhibit yourself under the holy gaze of the Spirit of God (Psa 139:22)

Let Him show you where you are failing in the grace of God, where you are being overcome instead of overcoming…and REPENT

(3) (Then) Excuse yourself from self-condemning thoughts and evil accusations

If the Lord set His affection on you to save you…


If Jesus ever loved you before…


If He adopted you, not based in your ability to measure up and qualify, but in His foreknowledge and provision to save you,


If grace saved you at the first…and you were not worth saving…


If God began the work of salvation in you…


…and He will finish His work, fit you for His eternity and redeem your bodies, your spirit and your soul.

I just read this morning – a quote by Perry Noble – and it’s spot on for all of us who are kinda looking at ourselves as we are, our circumstances, all the things that really, well, stink, and wonder if there can be a miracle in my mess…

“If it ain’t good, God ain’t done.”

Forget the grammar; embrace the grace.

God forgives, forgets, makes new and makes it permanent. When my son died, I was overcome by a massive tidal wave of emotions but God channeled them all to the harbor of Truth and I wrote these words:

“God blessed Sandy and me with the gift of a lifetime, our son Graham. We were blessed to have our baby boy (our only) for twenty-four fun-filled, amazing, tragic, adventurous, never-a-dull-moment, heart-wrenching, miraculous, painful, sweet, cuddly, hard, eye-opening, jaw-dropping, hand-clapping, sweet-as-pie, soft-as-silk, abrasive-as-sandpaper, thrilling, magical, wonderful years.

Yesterday, he went Home. He’s with Jesus. The war is over. The struggle has ended. Devil, you scoundrel, you wanted to destroy him but God promoted him. You can’t touch him anymore. Can’t. You lose. Gra-Gra is with God now. Praise Jesus, his chains are gone. Amazing, amazing grace.

Hallelujah. Selah.”

And, beloved struggler on the way: He is for you too. It ain’t done. But when He finishes you out – if you trust Him to do it – you’re gonna be breathtakingly beautiful.

It’s true.


Praying Your Prodigal Home


In light of my most recent posts, I thought it might be beneficial to re-share this from not so very long ago. While there’s some age to this material, no doubt its insights and encouragement are timeless. I pray it will be as meaningful to you as it has been to Sandy and me. Our prayers are with you as you wait on the front doorstep for your miracle.



“This is the result of my search for the right way of praying for the unsaved. I have found it to produce amazing results in a very short time.

After more than 20 years of fruitless praying, it seemed that there was no possible chance for my loved ones to ever return to the faith. But after only a few weeks of the type of praying that I have outlined here, I have seen them studying the Bible by the hour and attending every church service possible. Also, their whole attitude toward Christianity has changed, and all resistance seems to be gone.

I have taken my place of authority in Christ and am using it against enemy. I have not looked at myself to see if I am fit or not; I have just taken my place of authority in Christ and have prayed that the Holy Spirit may do His convicting work. If each and every member of the Body of Christ would do this, what a change would be made in this world!

Believers everywhere are burdened for the unsaved or backsliding loved ones. However, many are praying in the spirit of fear and worry instead of faith.

This has caused me to seek for definite light on how to pray, feeling the need of praying the right prayer and also the need for a definite promise or word from God on which to base my faith when praying for the unsaved. Praise God — He never fails to give such needed help!

Perhaps because the salvation of some seemed to be an impossibility, the first verse of scripture that was given to me was Mark 10:27 – “With God all things are possible.”

The next scripture verse had occupied my attention for some time, but it took on a new meaning: “(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) casting down imaginations [speculations] and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:4,5). This shows the mighty power of our spiritual weapons. We must pray that all this will be accomplished in the ones for whom we are concerned; that is, that the works of the enemy will be torn down.

Finally, I was given the solid foundation for my prayers — the basis of redemption. In reality, Christ’s redemption purchased all mankind, so that we may say that each one is actually God’s purchased possession, although he is still held by the enemy. We must, through the prayer of faith, claim and take for God in the name of the Lord Jesus that which is rightfully His. This can be done only on the basis of redemption. This is not meant to imply that, because all persons have been purchased by God through redemption, they are automatically saved. They must believe and accept the Gospel for themselves; our intercession enables them to do this.

To pray in the name of the Lord Jesus is to ask for, or to claim, the things which the blood of Christ has secured. Therefore, each individual for whom prayer is made should be claimed by name as God’s purchased possession, in the name of the Lord Jesus and on the basis of His shed blood.

We should claim the tearing down of all the works of satan, such as false doctrine, unbelief, atheistic teaching and hatred, which the enemy may have built up in their thinking. We must pray that their very thoughts will be brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.

With the authority of the name of the Lord Jesus, we must claim their deliverance from the power and persuasion of the evil one and from the love of the world and the lust of the flesh. We should also pray that their conscience may be convicted, that they may listen and believe as they hear or read the Word of God. Our prayer must be that God’s will and purposes may be accomplished in and through them.

Intercession must be persistent — not to persuade God, for redemption is by God, but because of the enemy. Our prayer and resistance are against the enemy — the awful powers and rulers of darkness. It is our duty before God to fight for the souls for whom Christ died. Just as some must preach to them the good news of redemption, others must fight the powers of darkness on their behalf through prayer. Satan yields only what and when he must, and he renews his attacks in subtle ways. Therefore, prayer must be definite and persistent, even long after definite results are seen. And we must pray for the new Christian even after he begins to be established in the faith.

We will find that as we pray, the Holy Spirit will give new directions. At one time I was interceding for a soul and began to feel that my prayers were largely ineffective. Then the Holy Spirit inspired me to begin presenting that person to God in the name of the Lord Jesus. As I obeyed this leading, praying, ‘I present so-and-so to God in the name of the Lord Jesus,’ I felt that my prayers were gradually becoming more effective. It seemed that I was drawing that person from deep within the very camp of the enemy. Then I was able to proceed as usual, claiming every detail of that life for God, using the power of the blood against the enemy. This is true warfare in the spiritual realm. Thank God that our spiritual weapons are mighty and that our authority in Christ is far above all the authority of the rulers, powers and forces of darkness, so that the Enemy must yield. But it takes faith and patience and persistence.

Missionaries on foreign and home fields can resist the enemy in their districts, communities and schools by using the power of the blood of Jesus against the powers of darkness, sin and unbelief. With the authority of the name of the Lord Jesus they can demand the enemy retreat. Note that ‘it is the spirit that quickeneth the flesh profiteth nothing’ (John 6:63) and that ‘the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life’ (II Cor. 3:6). Therefore, we must constantly seek the motivation of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, in our faith, in our prayer and in our testimony. It is most important also that we confess our own sins and have them forgiven.

The enemy will use every possible means to silence our intercession and to block our attack against him. We must not only understand our enemy, our authority in Christ and how to use our spiritual weapons but also how to wear the armor that God has provided for our protection. Thus equipped and protected, we need not have any fear. But let us always remember that we have no power and no authority other than that of Christ.

‘Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ’ (II Cor. 2:14)

‘Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world’ (I John 4:4)

— L.M.
(The writer has asked her name be withheld)


A final note. Our heartfelt thanks to Carey Childrey, a long-time friend and mentor, for sharing a copy of this marvelous message with us. Within weeks of posting this – knowing others needed its encouragement also – the Father ran to meet our own prodigal and welcomed him Home.

Can’t wait to share in the fatted calf with you, son.

God’s Job With Me


I have a disability. I am not, however, defined by it so I don’t consider myself a disabled person but, rather, a person with a disability. More to the point, my paralysis is what God is using – my platform – to demonstrate the out-raying of of His glory to the broken and hurting world around me.

Regrettably, in 1981, before I was introduced to handicapped status, my life was anything but a bright and shining testimony. Rather than traversing about about as a vessel of honor, I was a shipwreck waiting to happen. Had I stayed that course, you would not be reading this version of my testimony, but God, who is wise and merciful, saw an opportunity and put me in dry dock for some woefully needed reparation.

Before our man Job’s colossal Trial, he was a man of moral honor and of blameless character. Here, he and I part company really fast, with a wide berth between us! Before my own divine appointment, while supposedly preparing for a life of ministry at a Christian school in Tennessee, I opted rather to trip the light fantastic my junior year and explore options more cosmopolitan and earthly. Actually, I was more titillated by the prospect of a season in sin than falling headlong into it for fear of turning permanently away from God. That notion did horrify me. So maybe not the far, far country, but a few zip codes away suited me just fine.

Soon, however, the gravitational pull of Vanity Fair overtook me and I reached inside my soul and eagerly picked out some coins and paid the fare of some of its carnival attractions. The labyrinth of neon-lit avenues soon led me down darker alleyways and the introduction to even more seedy venues. These dens of iniquity were not for those who were merely playing at sin but for those looking to be actively employed by it.

Here I felt less in control. No longer was I picking the rides and selecting booths for momentary pleasure but felt they were somehow choosing me. Thanks be to God, my skin prickled. My gut told me to run for dear life. There opened before me a way of escape and I gladfully took it.

Wending my way outward through the maze of attractions, penitently reversing my travels, the carnies looked less friendly than at first, the places and atmospheres more insidious. Just you try and leave, they threatened.

You are trapped here forever…

The tangle of sideshows kept rearranging themselves, confusing the senses, prompting me to feel less hopeful about leaving. I kept running down promising lanes, expecting to pop out onto main arteries only to run into dead-ends leaving me exasperated and hopeless.

The profane grinding of a carnival organ and its incessant melodies sped up creating even more confusion. Sadistic people with snarkish smiles whirled about me and their faces blurred and morphed into visages macabre and demonic. There, in a grotesque blend of Grimm-worthy music and amusement, in the very nexus of Vanity Fair, I stopped and cried out for a supernatural deliverance from my agonies, to the only One who could. If He would even have me.

Miracle of miracles, not only would He, but He came to me with great tenderness and mercy.

The Call of the Carnival is undeniable but the Rescue of the Redeemer is epic!

It was during this episode of Divine Intervention that a friend placed in my hand a golden gift. This friend was well aware of my forays and foraging in the far country and came alongside me to buttress me as I wobbled on renewed legs. His “gift” was a plastic case, no larger than a paperback book, containing four cassette tapes, each a separate sermon from a pastor out west. The sermons were a four-part series of encouragement for those who were hurting.

The title on the cover read, “Gold In The Making”. I was captured.

My friend told me he had listened to Pastor Swindoll’s sermons over the summer and had also been accosted by the teaching that had seemed so alien to our theology: that God uses and even prescribes suffering for His children, that they might deepen in value and expand in power, being made weak in their trials. In short, we need fire in our life to purify, mold and empower us.

The fire softens us toward God and others.

The fire turns us to God in absolute dependence.

The fire increases the brightness of His glory in us.

Whatever this “fire” was, I knew I wanted it. I needed it. One of the sermons was a gem about Job. In that particular homily, Dr. Swindoll focused on Job’s crowning confession as we near the final stages of the debate with his trio of counselors, Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar.

“He knows the way that I take and when He has tried me, I will come forth as gold.”*

The insightful pastor offered an unforgettable lesson, zeroing in on one of the primary Hebrew words in the text. He said the word “way” translates the word ‘derek‘ in the original. He explained it means “bent” as in the bent area of an archer’s bow. When an archer crafted his bow, he was well-acquainted with how much force of pull was needed to create the arch without breaking it. With great care and exertion, the craftsman would pull on each end with his foot unyieldingly positioned in its center, applying just the right amount of pressure so as not to completely break the object, but enough so as to achieve for it maximum effectiveness.

Dr. Swindoll imagined for the listener what the bow might say about the process if it could feel. Perhaps it would question why such merciless mistreatment! But, carrying the parable further along, he explained it is not the archer’s desire to destroy his instrument as that would defeat its purpose, but to fashion it according to his own need.

The point is well struck when we yield to the truth that God applies trials in just the same way for His own instruments of righteousness, always stretching us beyond our own natural ability to learn His super-ability in us. All of this, we realize, is for His own purpose and pleasure, but also our value and effectiveness.

As I listened with heart swelling and eyes blurred by the onslaught of emotion, I decided then and there I wanted my life to hit the mark, whatever it cost me, and utterly for His own glory. Forever and ever, amen.

And so, that’s how I initially became a marked man. My story doesn’t begin at the Ingle’s Memorial Hospital in Harvey, Illinois on the third of September, nineteen hundred and sixty. I like to think it began on the floor of my college dorm room about the time I was introduced to Job, sometime just before midnight in late September, twenty-one years later. I may as well have been a figment prior to that night, artificial and existentially challenged. Trueness didn’t find its way into my empty shell until I laid myself, body, spirit and soul, as a sacrifice to the Lord on an altar of industrial-grade carpet while my roommates slept the sleep of dreaming freshmen.

From my perspective, however, the sacrifice was an embarrassment. I seemed like an inferior lamb, a blind goat, a lame offering in the scheme of things. Would my heart’s Governor accept me on His table?** I carried the stink of sin, the scent of a far country, my carcass pitted with decay from the inside out.

Even so, the Holy One received me, warts, leprosy and all, lock, stock and barrel, though befouled and obscene, because He knows His fire will consume all my worst and produce His artistic best, transforming my drudge and dross into pure gold.

That’s God’s job and He takes His work very seriously. It’s my job to let Him.

From Job’s apogeic confession, I inherited three gleaming truths that still flank and support me as I accept life with a serious disability.

1. God Knows Where I Am

2. God Knows What I Can Become

3. God Knows What He’s Doing To Bring Me Into Fullness

Beneath the thick viscous sludge of dross that clung (and yet clings!) to me, the Divine Assayer saw a vault of priceless gold and made it His perfect plan to get to it. To that end, I made it my constant plea to call upon my Sovereign to administer His Fire to do its necessary work in me, of bringing out a fully transparent sheen, the out-raying of Christ, and making my life a glory to my God and an encouragement to His people.

One thing about ashes, they are visible reminders of a former existence, so when scripture says Job “sat down among the ashes”***, it could also point to a deeper reality that they were a graphic eulogy over his former days, that a new era was commencing, taking him from good enough**** to better, from great to greater, from former glory to grander glory, from fear to faith, from bronze to gold.

“Gold, God,” I sobbed, face buried in the threadbare carpet. “I want to be gold!”

Then: a holy, pregnant pause. “Take my life, take my legs…whatever it takes…”

My prayer ended. I’d said enough, it turns out.

The benediction over my funeral pyre that night, some thirty-two years ago as I rose on Amen legs, could only be heard in the Unseen Realm, sufficing as a Divine Directive, passing from Throne to the powers that waited:

“The kindling and the sacrifice are ready. Start the fire.”

A hasting to do the Father’s will, and these words followed His fiery cohort out of the Heavenly Temple:

“Quickly, now. There’s gold…”


*Job 23:10
**Malachi 1:8
***Job 2:8
****Job 1:1