Monday, December 12, 2011


Recently, I was having lunch with two young Mexican men in a little cafe in Rosarito, Mexico. They both have grown up under my preaching and are now preachers themselves. One of them told me that he especially remembered an illustration I had used in his youth. He had never forgotten it.  Of course, during my 62 years of preaching I have probably used literally thousands of illustrations so I was curious which one was special to him.  Here it is and you have probably heard a version of it, too.
     There was a couple that only had one son and they loved and doted over him as he grew.  But, as a young man he became very rebellious and beligerent to his parents.  One day he slammed out the door announcing that he was leaving home for good.  Naturally, his parents were heart-broken.
     Years passed and one day his old mother was taking a letter out of the mailbox when she recognized her son's hand-writing.  She rushed into the house and, with trembling fingers, opened the letter and began to read it outloud to the father.  The son was very sorry for his actions.  He wanted to come home but he knew he didn't deserve their forgiveness.  The next day he would be passing by the old home-place and if they could find it in their hearts to forgive him he asked for a sign.  Behind the house beside the tracks there stood and old Elm tree.  If they could forgive him he asked that they put a white flag in the tree.  If the flag was there he would get off at the station and if not, he would continue on with his life.
     As the train neared his home he became very nervous until an old man sitting next to him by the window asked if he could somehow help the young man whereupon he poured out his heart to the kindly old man, put his face in his hands and sobbingly declared, "I can't look!  If it isn't there I think I will DIE!"  The old man told him he would look and tell him.
     The young man felt the train lurch as it rounded the last bend and he knew his home was in view.  He asked, "Do you see the big tree with a little white house behind it?"   The old man said he did.  The young man cried out, "Do you see a white flag in the tree?"  The old man hesitated a moment and then said, "No. I don't see A flag in the tree.  I SEE A FLAG ON EVERY LIMB!"
     Every time I turn a page in the precious Word of God I find a white flag from my Heavenly Father inviting all His children to come on back home.  All is forgiven.

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