Lately I’ve been thinking about prodigals.
Once again I read the story in Luke 15 about the prodigal son. He left his father’s house and wasted his inheritance money on loose living and ended up in a pig pen with the prospect of eating pig food. He had a turnaround moment and decided to go back home. My favorite verse in the story is this one:
|Luke 15:20–the God who runs.|
So he got up and came to his [own] father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with pity and tenderness [for him]; and he ran and embraced him and kissed him [fervently].
One of the prodigals in my life is my oldest daughter. As a child and teen she had such a beautiful faith. I remember thinking her devotion to God was far above mine, even though she was so young.
Then trauma happened. She was raped while away at college. Emotional struggles over that and other issues caused her to sink into deep depression. The depression lifted, but on the other side she had abandoned her faith in God. The four words she spoke that broke my heart were: “There is no God.”
It’s been almost ten years now. Even though I love my daughter deeply and we have things in common we enjoy doing together, I miss the godly person she was. She doesn’t take drugs or commit crimes like other prodigals I know. Instead she tends to be kind and loving.
But the word in the definition of a prodigal I think of in connection to her is wasteful. She’s so gifted and talented, but she uses none of her gifts and talents for the Lord’s glory.
For a time my heart was so broken that I felt I could have no joy until she returned to the Lord. But God showed me the enemy’s plan when our children or other loved ones wander from Him is to get us to abandon our faith as well due to anger or sorrow.
Ruth Bell Graham who dealt with a prodigal son named Franklin who “came back home” wrote in her book, Prodigals and Those Who Love Them, “We cannot convict of sin, create hunger, and thirst after God, or convert. These are miracles, and miracles are not in our department.”
I’ve abandoned trying to drag my daughter back home. Instead I wait for a miracle with open arms. And I pray, and pray, and pray some more.
I love this “invitation” that is included in the book:The Hope of a Homecoming; Entrusting Your Prodigal to a Sovereign God by Brendan O’Rourke Phd and DeEtte Sauer:
“Dear Prodigal, the honor of your presence is requested at a great feast to celebrate the fulfillment of God’s plan for your life. Your parents will be sitting with you at the head table. Presents will be provided by the Great High God, Emmanuel, King of Kings, Lord of Lords. The festivities begin as soon as you arrive.”
I’m looking forward to the festivities.
How about you? Are you waiting for a prodigal to come home? God knows how your heart aches. He loves you and the prodigal. Will you let go of anger, pain, and sorrow and entrust that prodigal to Him?
To hear more about the subject of prodigals tune in to my radio show Hearts Set Free with Elaine on Saturday, March 2, 2013 at 8:00am EST. Go to www.wtis1110.com and press “Listen Live.”