When Your Loved One is Missing in Action

I wait for you, loved one. I will wait as long as I’m able.

Each Sunday morn from my place at worship, I eye the door and hold out hope until the very last strain of the prelude, until the amen of the invocation, through the announcements, and even into the first song.

I watch the door willing you to appear.

Like the children in the theater clap their hands and believe to revive Tinkerbell,

I raise my hands and ask God to renew my faith that you will return to Him,

to us.

We wait together, He and I.

It’s hard for me, sometimes, to believe He loves you as much as I love you.

How is that possible?

For, I love you with the fire of a thousand suns,

with the force of a waterfall channeled through a metal straw and released on the other side,

with the endurance of an aboriginal runner on perpetual walkabout,

with the determination of a toddler resisting bedtime,

with the fierce power of a hound protecting the master who feeds him.

I love you with the steady rain of tears shed in sorrow over your wandering,

with sleepless nights pleading heaven on your behalf,

with fists beating against God’s chest making demands I have no right in my own name to make

but trusting the name by which I pray, mustering every boldness to bid Him bring you home.

My words are tinder on His altar as I call down fire to light your way,

the breath of my prayers encouraging the flames higher and higher as I rend my skin from my flesh as a visible sign to the heavenly host that I mean to have you with us for eternity.

Why do you tarry?

Where do you wander, my loved one?

The enemy has your ears and eyes but God infiltrates the backroom of your heart and I know you hear the whisper of truth even though your lesser spirit dances to the backbeat of the music of the age.

Come home. He speaks to you. Come home, where I am waiting, where you are welcome, where loved ones wait, watching the door, saving your place, making their very lives a light in the window to guide you home.

I inhale sorrow upon waking,

Ingest my longing for breakfast,

labor with wanting your safe return throughout my day,

sup with the taunts of the enemy that you are lost, that all my longing will go unanswered, all my prayers unheard,

but I raise the shield of faith against these arrows as evening falls and I allow the setting sun to retire my doubts as well.

As the moon and stars testify to the greatness of the One who called them into being, I let them speak to me of His faithfulness and ask Him to make me like them, reflecting His glory.

As I lay me down to sleep, your face is there, my loved one. Can you hear my heartbeat like a tribal drum summoning your return?

Clutching the hope of your deliverance, slicing my hands along the barbed wire fence that separates me from the false peace of giving up on you;

I refuse to release these shards of hope because the One who bled for me held out hope for us all with bleeding nail-pierced hands. My blood mingles with His at the crossroads where we parted ways, you and I, making fresh marks so you can find the narrow way if only you will open your eyes to see.

Follow it home, loved one, follow it home.

I wait for you, my loved one. I wait for your return.

Know that whatever you endure, there is someone with eyes on the door of the sanctuary, saving your place, aching to welcome you back to the fold – and I wait beside Him watching the door for a glimpse of your face as you enter His sanctuary and find yourself finally home.

I will wait for you as long as I am able but even if I fall, know that He waits for you, still.

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    The Conversation

  1. JB says:

    Oh, this is so true. My husband recently told me he no longer believes in Jesus or the Bible. I was heartbroken. I spent the first couple of months trying desperately to convince him to return, the next couple grieving and even contemplating how our marriage could survive, and now, have settled into an anticipatory faith that my husband is a man of God (even if he doesn’t know or remember it), and God will not let him go. Thank God for His promises!

    • I’m so sorry for this struggle you face, Janice. I’ll pray that the Lord sustains you through it until he finds his way home.

      • Carla says:

        I hear your heart, Janice, for I, too cried oceans, fasted til people thought I’d die, anointed his pillow, spent countless hours huddled in a blanket under the stars, as if being under the stars brought me closer to Abba so He could hear my prayers. Through this process He started talking to me about MY life and about MY short-comings. Although I resisted at first, saying ‘No, God, You’re not listening, I’m praying for HIM’, He just kept at me quietly until I started focusing my energy on MY heart and soul. The baggage of the past weighed heavily and contributed a lot to the alienation of my beloved, and as I started cleaning MY inside house, my husband changed as well. We celebrated #42 Saturday. We thank God every day for never giving up on us. Stand strong, therefore, and NEVER give up. Daniel 11:34 talks about ‘they shall fall with a little holpen (help) to be tried and then raised up’. This Scripture gave me SO much comfort! It brought my beloved back to me, and I am holding it fast for our beloved daughter and grandchildren that we haven’t seen since 2000 (she lives 17 miles away). She WILL return–this I know.

        God bless, ladies, life is hard, but God is good.

  2. VLW says:

    This is so timely. My Christian daughter and her husband have recently involved themselves in a sinful situation that is at complete variance to the faith she has always professed and lived by. I know that she will return to the Lord eventually (“if we are faithless yet He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself”) but I pray it will not be so long in coming that she does untold damage to her own life and testimony. I am praying the scriptures for her daily, and looking to the Lord to see what He would have me learn from all this. Meanwhile, I grieve for her rebellion and aloofness. It’s good to know other Christian parents go through these confusing and troubling times, too–not that it’s good they’re having sorrow, but it’s good to know others understand.