The Father’s Love for the Prodigal Son “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.” Luke 15:20
The four-hour journey to Ilorin, Nigeria was dark and seemingly endless. I had gotten food poisoning earlier in the trip so all I could do was just sit and listen to my Nigerian friends, Oluyole and Abraham, talk about the things of the Lord and the fire in the hearts of the emerging young leaders coming to Ilorin. I wondered how this was affecting our Muslim driver.
About two hours into the journey, discussion quieted. The only thing that could be heard was the rumble of the engine and the sound of the tires as they went over the speed bumps. Abraham was sitting in the front seat, and out of the silence the driver spoke to him. “I was a Christian once.”
The statement startled Abraham and he asked, “What made you convert to Islam?”
The driver began to share how early in his Christian life, times were tough. He was without a job and no way to support his wife and newborn child. No Christians helped him. The Muslim owner of several taxis approached him one day and said, “If you will convert to Islam, I will give you a job and a place to live.”
Buying converts is a common practice in the Muslim communities. The driver’s faith was not deep and so he renounced Christianity and became a Muslim.
He explained that he had been a driver for several years, but there was an emptiness in Islam. After listening to Oluyole and Abraham talk, a longing stirred within him. He said, “I would like to come back to Christ, but I know that if I do, I will be without a job and a place to live.”
Abraham responded that the Lord loved him and that he could repent and come back to the Lord right now. “I have to warn you, we have nothing but Christ to offer you,” Abraham concluded.
The driver replied, “I don’t care. I cannot live this way any longer.”
He pulled the car off to the side of the road. It was dark and in the middle of nowhere, but the light of Christ began to burn brilliantly in his face as Abraham and Oluyole led him back to Christ. Oluyole gave the driver his phone number and told him to contact him and he would see what he could do for him. The driver dropped us at our hotel and left to let his employer know he had become a Christian.
The next morning around 7:30 am, the driver came knocking at the door with his wife and child. His employer had fired him, threw him out of his apartment and implied death threats to him and his family. Oluyole invited them in and immediately picked up his phone and called one of the pastors in Ilorin. The pastor was a Muslim background believer and had a church of about 2000, most of whom were also Muslim background believers. They all had experienced what this driver and his family were experiencing. A short time later, another knock came at the door. This time it was a member of the pastor’s church who welcomed him and his family into the Muslim background believer community. They also began to help him with his immediate needs of housing and employment.*
*Excerpt from Ken’s coming book on God’s faithfulness to him.