Recently, some handmade cardboard signs have been popping up around the train station in San Juan Capistrano. They very simply say “Stephen, please call your mom.” Now I have no idea who Stephen is, no idea about his age or the circumstances that have estranged him from his mother.
But I can get a glimpse into his mother’s heart. She misses him. She is ready and wanting to move past whatever caused the split between them. She is ready to help, to comfort, to restore the relationship. She just wants him to call.
As I read those signs, I couldn’t help but think of the father’s attitude in the Biblical story of the prodigal son. That boy took his inheritance and ended up “languishing in a distant country.” Maybe his Biblical father traveled there and put up some homemade signs of his own. “Son, please call your dad.” I can’t prove there were signs posted, but I can see the initiative of the father. He is combing the horizon for a glimpse of his son and can’t wait to bless him.
My favorite part of the narrative occurs in verse 20. The scripture says that the boy has come to his senses and is returning home. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him. He ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” (Luke 15)
Similarly, it is possible that there are some cardboard signs hanging all around our neighborhoods. They are invisible to most. But penned by our heavenly father, they carry a personal message. They might say, “Hey Fred, quit struggling with that addiction, call your father. I can and will help.”
Or another might read, “Mary, I know you are dying inside. Stop faking it and give me a call.”
Or still another might say, “Sam, the gulf fixed between us isn’t too wide. I can carry you over it, call me.”
This week if you find yourself just going through the motions of life and feeling a bit lost, take a good look around you for your own personal set of signs. They may not be made of cardboard or duct taped to a dirty wall, but they are there. His love reaches out into all our neighborhoods. And His message is the same, “Call Me!”
“Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
Let’s make the call.