Saturday, May 07, 2016
One of Jesus' better known parables is the one about "the prodigal son." The younger of two sons asked for his inheritance, receives it, and heads out into the big, bad world to have some fun. He spends it all and ends up with a dead end job, feeding pigs. Not a great gig. At least not for him.
The New International Version of Luke 15:17 says, "When he came to his senses, he said, 'how many of my father's hired men have food to spare and here I am starving to death?'"
He practiced his speech, the thing he would say to his father, the apology, the plea for reinstatement in the household - as a servant, not as a son. He had spent everything his father had given him - his excessiveness is what earned him the title of "the prodigal son" - prodigal meaning spending money or resources lavishly or recklessly.
I have come to believe that the truly prodigal person in that story is the father. Because the father gave him the inheritance - even though he must have known it would mean that his son would leave home and waste the money. Verse 20 says - So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
Today, that phrase, "when he came to his senses" is speaking volumes to me.
Someone I love dearly, someone I miss terribly, is on a journey.
A difficult journey.
Far, far from home.
Far from her senses.
Far from herself, most of all.
(Lord, the one you love is sick.)
I pray daily, hourly, ceaselessly, to be able to use that phrase -
"when she came to her senses..."
In the past tense - that coming to her senses is a turning point that we can look back on.
(Lord, in your mercy, please please please, bring her back to her senses. Bring her senses back to her. For your glory and for her good. We plead. We beg. We beseech you.)
When she comes to her senses, she will see that many, many people have been looking out for her return.
When she comes to her senses, I will run to her and embrace her and kiss her one thousand times.
When she comes to her senses, she will be welcomed home with a grand celebration.
When she comes to her senses, she will be inundated with love and laughter and shouts of joy.
When she comes to her senses, she will both utter and hear testimony to God's faithfulness, to the love and support of family and friends, and to the strength and efficacy of prayer - even when she didn't know what was going on, even when we all struggled to maintain hope, even when we felt our hearts shredded by sorrow, even then, God was and is faithful and present and working on her behalf.
When she comes to her senses, there will be excessive displays of love and affection for days on end.
(How long, Lord? How long?)
I know I've written about this parable before.
I'm sure I will write about it again.
With each reading,
with each passing day of this challenging journey,
I learn more. I feel more. I want to ponder it more.
And now that I am studying Biblical Greek,
I am sure I will write about it again, having read it in its original language.
(Lord, please give her a palpable sense of your presence, your love, your comfort, your healing power. Even tonight. Please bring her back to her senses and bring her back home. Please.)