Once again I continue to think about a certain prodigal a lot lately—perhaps because she recently celebrated a birthday.
I long for her to be “home,” so I can say to her, “Let’s pray about that,” and then pray together like we used to. I want her to share some wonderful insight like she did in days gone past which encouraged me so much—even in my walk with the Lord. I confess I miss the Christian version of my loved one. She possessed discernment, wisdom, and a radiance that shone brightly in her eyes and in her smile.
“How can someone who excelled at discernment of the truth fall so deeply into believing the lies of the enemy?” I asked a friend yesterday.
Even as I said the words, the answer came.
The enemy relentlessly attempts to blind those who desire to proclaim truth. As a writer, I sense him work diligently to keep me from my repeated broadcast of truths the Lord gives me. Some days I fall for lies, but then as I seek the Lord, He corrects me with His truth.
My friend assured me of my loved one’s return, as most people do.
Then as I jogged today and spoke to the Lord, He assured me again with these words, “She’s already home.”
God is not in time as I am, so He already sees her home. Is it wrong I want to see it too and experience that reality—especially before I die? Deep down I know I will experience the reality even if I die before her return is manifested.
Other questions I ask are, “Why do certain prodigals return more quickly than others while some stay away for decades?” One answer that comes to mind which goes along with the other about how one can believe lies after so totally embracing truth is this: pride.
At the core of this prodigal’s issues I believe is rejection. Years ago as I struggled with the spirit of rejection, someone gave me a teaching centered on this truth: we can deal with rejection one of two ways. We can go to God and get healed and delivered, or we can rebel. For a period of time I rebelled. I didn’t abandon my Christianity, but I couldn’t seem to forgive those who rejected me so harshly. Once I let go of pride and embraced forgiveness, the turnaround in my life amazed me. The freedom I felt lifted me higher than I ever thought I could go and drew me closer to the Lord than I ever imagined I could be.
In the midst of my sorrow over my prodigal staying away comes shame, which I wrote about in previous blogs as my core issue. Somehow it feels like it must be at least partially my fault my loved one rejected God. She spent large amounts of time with me as I tried to be a witness for the Lord to her. Was my witness too weak? Did she say, “I don’t like what she has?”
I remember two occasions at my home church when that sense of shame heightened. Once was when a man from the pulpit said, “I must have done things right. My children are walking close to the Lord.” What I heard, “You did everything wrong.”
Another time I asked for prayer for my prodigal child in a lady’s Bible study at my church, and a fellow mom said, “My child wandered from the Lord a short time, but then I prayed, and she came right back.” My conclusion? She knows how to pray a prodigal home, and I don’t.
These shame issues tend to be buried, but God allows them to come to the surface, so I can deal with them—sometimes again and again. He shows me the enemy works hard in his attempts to blame and shame me in regard to prodigals I pray for and other seemingly unanswered prayers and my perceived failures as a Christian.
What tears at my heart is how time is wasted in this precious one’s life. She missed giving glory to God all these years she stayed away. But I have to believe God can restore the years the locusts have eaten. I have to believe the words He speaks that “she’s already home.” I have to cling to Him even though I don’t understand how someone who had such a strong faith abandoned it or how He could have allowed it when it seems He keeps other people’s faith intact, despite many trials and traumas.
I can hear people saying, “She has free will.”
Yes, she does.
Recently at my Bible study, I left a prayer card with a fellow member of the group. Our practice is to write down the prayer request and then the other person prays and lets the requester know what they believe God is speaking to them about the subject. Then the person who initiated the prayer takes it back to the Lord. This is what this friend said when I asked for prayer for my prodigal. I receive what she passed along. I hold to it and to the Lord. I release any shame connected to this, and I wait with love in my heart like the father of the prodigal did in the Scripture. (See Luke 15:20)
CALL FORTH THOSE THINGS THAT ARE NOT AS THOUGH THEY WERE. (Romans 4:17…the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not.)
INVITE ME INTO THE SITUATION. KEEP ME IN CONTROL THROUGH PRAISE. SPEAK MY WORDS OVER HER. THEY ARE POSITIVE—NEVER NEGATIVE. SHE IS MINE, BUT YOU MUST GIVE HER COMPLETELY TO ME. LOVE HER THE WAY SHE IS, EXPECTING NOTHING—JOYFUL AND EXUBERANT, AS YOU LAVISH MY LOVE ON HER. SHE WILL NOT RESIST MY LOVE. TREAT HER AS IF SHE IS TOTALLY MINE—A WHOLE CHRISTIAN—MADE WHOLE—AS YOU WANT TO BE TREATED. I LOVE YOU, ELAINE. YOUR FAITHFUL FATHER.
This song from Lauren Daigle lifted my spirits in regard to prodigals I pray for on a regular basis. I praise God for using singers and songwriters to lift me up and remind me of God’s love and power.
“Come Alive (Dry Bones)” by Lauren Daigle