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The story is told of a young woman who left her husband to pursue life with another man. Her brokenhearted husband spent the next 15 years reading books and grieving. Then after 15 years of wild living the wife returned, thinking she could pick up where they left off. The husband had gradually forgotten her and did not even recognize her as the same person. Absence did not make his heart grow fonder. Our Heavenly Father longs for us to live in a close relationship with Him. Living estranged in a far country not only causes us to miss the many benefits He has for us, we will likely suffer headaches and dead ends—things that rob us of the joy God wants us to have. Like the father of the Prodigal Son, God yearns for his wayward child to come home. In Nehemiah Chapter 9, Ezra tells ancient Israel that despite their many years of rebellion, God is still a “God of forgiveness.” He overflows with mercy and grace. While we can never recapture lost years of wandering in a far country, if we are willing to repent of our sins, God is willing to forgive us and restore us to Himself. Even now in our latter years, we can still enjoy sweet fellowship with our Heavenly Father.

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