Lately my Savior has been nudging me concerning those adult children in my life that are presently on a wilderness excursion! I have been thinking on the parable of the prodigal son, it's content and the response of our Savior toward all Prodigals.
The story of the lost son is found in Luke 15:11-32. We read that the youngest son demanded his inheritance from his father. Later on in the story we find him eating with the pigs.
Vs. 17 "But when he came to himself, he said, "How many of my father's hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! Vs. 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, vs. 19 and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants."
I too, have some of my own who demanded their inheritances. They, as well, have become prodigal, though they have the foundation of God's Word learned when they were very younger. Life has not been easy for any of them so far.
As adults though, it was their decision to take the path of a prodigal. As parents, we are confronted with our children's life decisions. Do we chase them? Do we say no when they want or need something?
We have our answers in the Prodigal story of the Bible. We never do see the father chasing the son and begging him to come to his senses but rather we see this response:
vs. 12 "So he divided to them his livelihood. Vs. 13 And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living."
The father granted the demanding son what he asked for. It may be that the father was earnestly praying to our Savior as he handed his wayward son what he asked for. I have been there before. Not always handling it as that father did but, I have come to realize that our children don't belong to us anyway. Rather, they are lent to us from our Savior . They are with us until the Lord removes them, either as a prodigal, marriage or ministry calling. Sometimes, even by death itself.
I also have learned that there is a reason why we have the Prodigal story in His Word. The Lord loves us so much and He knew we would have "Prodigals" in our lives too. He left us that story so we could learn from it and not ignore its wisdom. It is God's way of showing us how to properly handle a situation similar to the prodigal.
The father did not go after his son. Nor, did that father but rescue him while his beloved son wallowed in the mud of wickedness either. He didn't send a servant to give him money to help with either his needs or his wants. As you read vs. 20, it becomes apparent that the father was always looking out the door to see if and when his dear son would come home again. He must have been there daily praying earnestly for his lost and wandering son.
I too, have thought about these things. I pray daily for our own "Prodigals".
But, do I sit at home thinking of ways to come to their rescue? No. My efforts will not bring that son or daughter back home again.
The lost son, according to vs.17 says that "he came to his senses in other words he took the first step towards repentance."
That prodigal son or daughter has to come to the personal realization that he or she has sinned first against the Heavenly Father and He alone. And, when true repentance comes from that type of realization, the prodigal will not return with more excuses or bitterness. No. He or she returns totally broken and humbled too!
In vs. 19 he asked to become "a hired servant."
King David, when confronted with his own wicked actions, repented immediately. He went on to write these words in Psalm 51:4... "Against you, you only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight."
A prodigal who is truly repentant and sorry will have those words pour forth from their lips to God directly.
When the father saw his son coming over the horizon, it was then that he ran to him (contrary to Jewish custom of that day) and had compassion on him. In vs. 20 it says, "he fell on his neck and kissed him."
The father did not sit there and badger his son with questions and that famous "why?'
Rather, in vs 22 it says that he, "Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. and on vs. 24 for this my son was dead and is alive again, he was lost and is found."
The next thing that happened? They had a party of thanksgiving!
When our prodigal comes home again, we too, will know how to respond. The Lord Himself has shown us what true repentant looks like and you will be able to discern it as it comes to pass with your own prodigal too. Love your son or daughter unconditionally. Don't waste time asking the "why's" but now the "what's." What now? What do we do from here? Isn't that how our Savior is with each of us? He just wants our heart. He wants our coming back home to Him. He forgives and seeks just as the Prodigal son's father had.
So great is our Father's excitement over the return of one of his lost ones!
Being confronted with your own prodigal situation can be an unexplainable pain. Suffering over the tragedy of a "wilderness prodigal child" is not fun or easy. The prodigal story is God's example to we parents and our comfort too. Placing our prodigal in the hands of a merciful God brings about a "peace that surpasses all understanding."
I wrote a letter to one of my own prodigals and now, I wish to share an excerpt of it with you. Remember, our Savior knows things and each outcome too. He simply asks us to trust Him and do as He instructs. and obey Him. Read on...
Prodigal, Jesus loves you so much.
Prodigal, He died for you on that cross and He has never given up on you, ever!
He never gave up on me and I was the worst of all sinners.
I was that one that would have been stoned Prodigal but He showed me mercy, forgiveness, and grace.
I have seen the worst of Christians turning against me and everyone talking about me including those closest to me.
Prodigal, remember David when he said in Psalms 51, "against you only have I sinned." He was still named a man after God’s own heart.
Prodigal, it is not to late for you to completely give your life to Jesus. It is never too late!
Prodigal, if you are saved you are a princess to the King of Kings. Your body is His temple for the Holy Spirit is in you. How can our members be entangled with impurities and then say we are "okay?"
We can’t sweetie... I tried it too. I know what I am saying to you is real and true. My heart has been towards seeing my Savior face to face Prodigal and it hit me tonight as something fierce and scary what if something happens to you and I will not know if I will ever see you in heaven?
Prodigal, I am crying as I am writing you because you are in a wilderness and only Christ can help you.
Our Heavenly Father is the father in the "Lost Son" parable. He is waiting with unconditional love and compassion for us to come home. The letter is His Word and He is waiting for you to open it. His Word, the Bible is where we will get our wisdom that we need to deal with our prodigals and loved ones.
Keep watching over the horizon as we pray for each of our prodigal's to come home!
Close and Personal....
1. Have you blamed yourself for having a prodigal?
2. If you have gone after that prodigal do you now understand why we should not?
3. Have you had a prodigal come back to Him and also asking your forgiveness? How did you handle it? Were you like the father in the story or were you like the brother?
"My dear Heavenly Father, I want to tell you thank you for not ever giving up on me. I was once that prodigal daughter lost in the wilderness. While I was in that path of destruction you waited for me and prayed for me to come home. Thank you Father, for teaching me through your Word what it is to have love and compassion towards our wandering young adults. Thank you Father, for loving each one of us! May we depend on your strength and hold on in obedience to your truth knowing that you will work all things for our good. I love you Lord Jesus and I know that you will protect our children as they wander too. May you help me to be ready with open arms to welcome them back to you first and then us! Thank you for what you are going to do!"
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