As I pondered all the ways I disobeyed the Lord, I am reminded of a tender Father in Luke chapter 15 whose arms remain open. My faith feels raw, discordant, jagged. The words that describe me affectionately in this love letter by my Father, I do not recognize. The fight remains to stay and believe; to wrestle with my own powerlessness that eventually yields under the strength of relentless affection.
In Andrew Bauman’s book, stumbling toward wholeness, “Scripture in general and the parable of the prodigal in particular-informs us that all redemptive change begins when we see ourselves accurately through God’s eyes.”
In Luke chapter 15, both sons need a revelation of grace. The younger son pursued a life of pleasure and wanted to discover who he was in his independence. The younger son needed to know the love of his father brought out his identity and was not a barrier, as loving connections help us find our path to purpose.
The dutiful older son felt resentful towards the younger son who was celebrated despite his defiant wayward choices. The older son needed a revelation he was celebrated and always adored by his Father, yet he did not see it. His identity was defined by his performance rather than a son who received his fathers love despite his father’s daily presence.
Thus, mere proximity does not automatically equate to intimacy. Grace flows through a posture of an open and receptive heart. The decision to receive love begins by opening the heart to the concept that love does exist.
Both relationships needed revelation of the real intimacy available to them to partake in the grace that was lavished upon them. Perhaps, both sons were prodigals shielding their hearts from affection that could set them free.
If I am honest, then I have to say my life growing up looked like a pendulum between the lives represented by the two sons. If I am honest, I am and have been perfectly prodigal and this, all the reason more, to revel in grace.
What times in your life have you hid behind wanton pleasure or dutiful performance to find your identity?
I encourage you to come back to the Father’s open arms for you, a warm and tender embrace that will never turn you away, precious prodigal. Come back to the place where true security is not only found but celebrates you every moment.
Luke 15: 20 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.