Sunday, March 10, 2019

Let the Prodigal

Let the Prodigal
March 11, 2019
Luke 15:20 3:11 "But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for his; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him."

The story of the prodigal son is famous enough that it can be summed up in a few words. A man had two sons and the younger wanted his inheritance early. So the man divided up his property and the young son left to live in wild living and lost all his wealth. The young son finally came home, humbled, hoping his father might take him back as a hired hand, but the father rejoiced when his son came home and welcomed him back as a son. When the story if reviewed in the Bible, it is just a few short verses. No one knows further detail than this simple parable that Jesus told. The point of the story was the son returning and the Father welcoming him home, similar to the Lord taking us back. But a part of the parable is seldom discusses, the part when the father has to watch his son go, when the father has to let his prodigal son go.

The parable Jesus told never suggested the father begged and pleaded that the son would stay, the father gave the son the gift of a free choice. The father new he could not control his son, forcing him to do something he did not want to do, that would have made his son rebel all the more. Fortunately, and unfortunately, the son was given a free will to make all his own mistakes, possibly rebuking any wisdom from his father.  When I read the story in its entirety, knowing how the father rejoiced and welcomed him back, I know the father deeply loved him and missed his son. I know that watching his son leave was possibly the most painful thing he had ever experienced. The parable is always told from the point of the prodigal son returning, but no one ever discusses the father having to let his son go. Its not that the father is disowning his son, but allowing him the freedom to choose his own path, even if he has been warned that it leads to danger and destruction. I can only imagine the sleepless nights the father went through, wondering if his son was OK, if he was even alive.

The full parable references the Heavenly Father as the father in the story, that he welcomes his children home when they are willing to return. But no one ever discusses the heartache the children cause the father, the turmoil of watching them utilize their free will toward a path that leads to death. The prodigal son's father had to watch him go, had to let him go, and our Heavenly Father does the same thing. The Lord gives us a free will, warns us of all the paths, and then has to let us go if we want to go. I don't know which is more painful, the prodigal son being humbled on the destructive path or the father watching his son leave and knowing what is about to happen.

Your choices, Christian, do not just affect you, they affect those around you and oftentimes they break the heart of God. You decisions have caused the Lord so much emotional turmoil, possible more than you've experienced when making the bad choices. And yet, the Lord still chooses it this way, to love you as a child knowing you are going to break his heart at some point. Anytime you have made a bad decision in life or if you are going to make one in the future, the Lord has given you the freedom to make that choice; He has to let you go if you want to go. But know that He is standing there waiting, without sleep, in eager anticipation to take you back.

Don't take my word for it; look it up:  Pr 1:7, Pr 10:1, Pr 12:15, Luke 15:11-32

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