Sunday, June 28, 2009

Prodigal Son

What does prodigal mean? Well, according to the dictionary... "recklessly wasteful, or extravagant." Well, I was really praying about a situation when God reminded me of the story of the Prodigal Son... found in Luke 15 in the Bible... It is an amazing story of forgiveness. A parable of God's love that tells of a father who welcomes home a son who has gone astray and squandered his inheritance to return in poverty to ask forgiveness. It is beautiful... but I have never liked it. You see in the story there is the "older son". A son who obeyed his father, and stayed home to help his father with family matters. Me - I have always related to the good son - or the "rule-follower"... the responsible one who stayed behind to slave away....

So - I saw someone in my life being a prodigal - running away and living life recklessly... to be rewarded with a father's love. But in "my story", there was no forgiveness and no change of heart... no hitting the bottom and choosing to repent or change... just the celebratory homecoming. So, my bitterness overwhelms my heart. My righteous anger bubbles over for the father who is loving the son... and the son who is not repentant for all the past hurts and wrongs. For you see, one son can affect the WHOLE family. So, I found myself being the bitter son... the one saying - Father - Why? Why him? Why reward him? Why reward this one?

I think of my two sons, and wonder if there will be a day when they leave home with reckless abandon and depart from their teachings... I pray not. But then, I think I could be a bit more understanding and less bitter... so today...

I heard the most wonderful sermon at church... about forgiveness, grieving the loss, get God's strength, follow God's guidance, and expect God's restoration.

I find I am the one older son that stayed home... but I don't want to be him. I learned after careful examination that the one bitter son was just that - bitter. He was just as bad as the one who went away. He did not ask the father about the reasons why - but instead sent a servant to ask the father. I don't want that in my relationships. I want open communication. Plus, the one son was so self-righteous... and don't I have a closet full of sins that God has forgiven? Of course. I may not be a prodigal... but I have had my foolish moments that makes me thankful for grace and a forgiving God.

I heard in the sermon that I have two paths... just like this narrow road I am on... I can choose to 1. rehearse or 2. release.... I am a bit more of a rehearser in life... playing that scene over and over in the theater of my mind... but I want to release it... I want to be free. I have some hope. Releasing is not a one time thing sometimes... it is everyday, every hour, and sometimes every minute. As I write and type, I cry out to God for me to release this prodigal son, and I cry out to God to forgive me for my sin of being the bitter one... I cry out for more love for the Father and the prodigal... to release this... to find peace... for the prodigal to be a prodigal that is restored... For it is not the prodigal that scares me, I don't want to be "other son" that is home and angry. I want to be at the celebration. I want the forgiveness and love. I want to give the first toast... because when the prodigal left... don't you think the older son must have missed the prodigal so much? Just as much as the Father?

I found today that I had to admit my bitterness came from love. I love this prodigal.. and I have missed the prodigal in my life... but until a prodigal can ask forgiveness... how can there be true restoration? Only a party... So, I pray for the restoration... that the prodigal becomes what the Father wanted all along... So, a prodigal in this story could not be a son or a brother until he was restored, returned home with forgiveness on his lips... the Father must have waiting... for he saw him a long way off... and ran to his son, threw his arms around him, and kissed him.

In my own life, I want God's love. I want to be standing at the window waiting... my bitter heart has turned from the window... and can't imagine that prodigal returning... I can't see the picture with restoration. So, I can pray. I can ask God to begin the restoration in my soul. I can ask God to help me be the party planner... you know I love a good party.... and I prayed today to want to plan a party... to feel that love again.... not this bitterness that wells up... not the hurt... to be filled with love... for even if the prodigal never asks for forgiveness... and never returns.... I want to be home waiting at the window... I want to buy the streamers and balloons... I want the menu planned... so just in case, I am ready for the party.... my heart will be ready... I pray God changes it... and I will choose to obey and forgive.

How many of us are prodigals with God the Father waiting for us to come home? Just choose the narrow path, choose to go home and ask forgivensess.... and how many of us are no longer filled with joy when a lost son returns to God? Is there a party somewhere waiting on your attendance? Are you ready to give a party?

1 comment:

  1. I to GOT TONS out of the sermon yesterday. I understand what you are saying I wish I wasn't playing the same scene over and over. Again!
    I had so much fun with squash last night! He is the cutest!