Dear God, It’s me. I know it has been a while since I talked to you, but you’re Almighty so I’m sure you have a really good memory. Anyway, I’m back…and things aren’t real good right now.

I was thinking about that day about two years ago in church when I felt really close to you. You remember that, right? The preacher had talked about deny self and take up the cross to follow Jesus. I was so burdened right then. It was as if You were right there with me telling me that message was for me.

I was really screwed up. I was about to flunk out of school. My girlfriend broke up with me. My dad had died just a couple of months before. My mom and I hadn’t spoke in weeks. And I had been drinking…a lot. Somehow I still felt you loved me. I felt like you had a plan for my life that was better than what I had done with it. I remember walking down to meet the pastor at the front of the church and telling him I wanted a start anew life. I wanted to follow Jesus.

You gave me that new start. You didn’t change all the crap in my life. Some of it got better. My mom came to my baptism. My girlfriend went ahead and broke up with me. School got a little better even if it did take me an extra semester to graduate. And dad, well, I kinda got used to him not being around. Most of all, though, I felt clean inside for the first time ever. That was so cool.

Those weeks after that I was on fire! I read my Bible almost every day. I started coming to church every week. I even helped pass out bulletins for a while. Most of all, I felt close to you. I talked to you. I felt so free.

Like I said, I’m back, and my life’s a mess again. I dont’ know what happened. I guess I got distracted or something. My friends wanted to hang out late Saturdays, and it was just so hard to get up on Sundays. The folks from church called. I made excuses for a while, then I just quit answering. Whenever I’d see them in town I did my best to stay out of sight. It worked…most of the time, anyway. I felt so guilty, so dirty.

I don’t remember when I stopped reading my Bible. I blamed it on not understanding…what’s that book…Deuter…Deuteromony…well, something like that. But since you’re God, you know that was kind of an excuse. Even looking at my Bible I felt more and more guilty. I was doing what I wanted to do – hanging out, drinking…again, dating…well, a little more than dating…sorry, and getting into trouble. Mom bailed me out, but I’ve got my court case coming up.

That’s kind of why I’m here. I need you again. Dang, that sounds so selfish. I guess it is. I’ve really made a mess of things. My court appointed lawyer says I might have to go to jail. Jail! My dad would have been so embarrassed. My picture was in the paper and everything.

But God, I’m not asking you to fix this mess. You can, I know, and if you did that would be so good. What I need is to be close to you again. Could you take me back? Could we start over? Mom always said that you love people even if they turn their backs on you. Is that true?

I want to say I’m sorry. I’m really, really sorry. After all you did for me – loving me – saving me – Jesus dying for me – after all that, I just quit on you. It was all about me. It was kinda like I pushed you off the throne and took that place for me. I wasn’t made for that chair. I guess that’s pretty obvious now.

I don’t wanna be like those guys who get real religious then dump you, kinda like a yo-yo over and over again. I don’t wanna be like that. I want it to be real, today, tomorrow, and every day. I want to be free again. Please, take me back.

Oh, I really haven’t said this before. I felt like I was too macho, you know. But, God, I really do love you.

Wow. I feel a little lighter now. Thank you. I guess I’ll go pick back up in Deuteromony.

In Jesus’ name. Amen.

[This letter is fictional, but based on the real circumstances of a great many people. If you’d like to know more about coming back to God, see Luke 15:11-32]

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