The story of the prodigal son is one we have heard so often that it is easy to tune it out. But one day while reading the story in Luke 15, 11-31 the Lord stepped in. The last half of verse 20 jumped out at me. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming.
Two things struck me. First, the father was watching the road, and second, he was obviously watching in faith. It’s easy to slide into a feeling of hopelessness, to doubt the Lord’s ability to change our prodigal’s mind. I had to seek the Lord; confess my sin of doubt and ask Him to increase my faith. Then I began watching the road again, in faith, and I began see tiny little things happening. I learned to silently say thank you to the Lord and step back to let Him work. I had planted enough land mines on that road and I needed to stop.
Sometimes a prodigal quits phoning because they know they’ll get a sermon. We had to stop talking and start listening, not just to them but also to what we said to them. When our loved one asked a question, we learned to give a simple answer and then rejoice in private. If an unexpected Happy Father’s or Mother’s Day card appeared, a simple thank you was sufficient without any snide comment thrown in. When they let slip that they had gone to church or chatted with a Christian we swallowed our comments.
The worst thing we can do is to think they’re standing on our doorstep, when really they are barely visible on the horizon. Hosea, chapter two, became my reference point. In verse 6 (speaking about Hosea’s unfaithful wife), the Lord fenced her in with thornbushes, blocked her path with a wall to make her lose her way…but then in verse 14 He says I will win her back again.” We must ask the Lord to put a hedge around our prodigal and let Him do it; allow the Lord to work until they come to the end of themselves and even then, only the Lord can win them back. If we silently watch, peeking out from behind the curtain of faith, we will see them slowly coming up the road.
Too often as parents we bail them out of tough situations, cover for them or allow our minds to think up an alibi for them when what we really need to do is admit they need the Lords help. We need to give the Lord permission to deal with them, even if it seems harsh. He loves them more than we do and He knows where they are. He is also the only one who can disintegrate stumbling blocks and heal bruised emotions. That’s why Christ came.
Put them in the Lord’s hands today.