Luke 15: 10-32 records Jesus giving the parable of the prodigal son. Many of us have known the heartache of prodigal children. Likewise, some have known the joy of returning prodigals, restored by God’s grace to Himself and our families. For those parents who are still waiting for their loved one’s restoration, there is a process God takes us through.
We begin by making our requests to the Lord for the prodigal’s return, and thus our journey in this, as parents, begins. Philippians 4: 6 “…..but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God”. The waiting period is a huge trial of our faith, (1Peter 1:7). After we have poured out our emotions, tears and requests to the Lord, we find God wants to take us on another journey. Very often the Holy Spirit takes us to review certain events and times in the past where our behaviour, as parents, has been part of the problem, causing issues with our children. There are no perfect parents, we all make mistakes. Some we are aware of and need to apologise to our children, and the Lord, for such. The Holy Spirit shines His light and uncovers the mistakes we made that we were not aware of, nor realised how such affected our children. Were we part of the problem that caused our children to choose another road away from God? Did we portray religion instead of relationship to a loving, heavenly Father? Maybe we thought our intentions and motives were right, but our representation of Jesus fell far short. This waiting period is not the time to put our children right, but for us to get right in our relationship with the Lord. When we embrace the truth the Holy Spirit shows us about ourselves and repent, we discover a freedom from our past believing and bondage. We enter into a new freedom in Christ. Here is the principle that Jesus taught, truth makes free. It is creative. Jesus said, John 8: 32 “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free”. Truth is a person. Jesus declared He was the Way, the TRUTH and the Life, (John 14:6).
Walking in humility, embracing the truth God shows us, will put us in right relationship with our heavenly Father. Only when I am rightly related to Him will my life have true meaning and enable me to enjoy right relationships with others. In this position the Lord continues the journey with me and teaches me to learn to lean fully on Him, surrender my prodigal to Him and trust Him to be the God and Father that He declares Himself to be. God will use the circumstances they are in to bring them to the end of themselves and all they thought was so right for them. In the parable of the prodigal son, he was brought very low before he came to his senses and returned to his father. God knows just what will trigger each prodigal’s return and will engineer events for their ultimate good. Our part, as parents, is to surrender them into God’s loving care and give Him a free hand to work without interfering, or trying to help God out. What we are speaks far louder than any words we may say! A demonstration speaks louder than words.
In the parable, the wayward son had his feet under his father’s table, but his heart was in the far country. The father had the wisdom to release him and let him go. We damage others when we try to hold on to them and we have not stepped into our right relationship with our heavenly Father in surrender and trust. The wise father in the parable knew his son needed to come to the end of himself and come to his senses. The son went into the famine and God used that circumstance to engineer his return to his father. For every family member of ours that is astray, the Lord knows what it will take for each of them to return.
Trust the Hound of Heaven and His sovereign grace, love and mercy. He will do His uttermost to draw the wayward back to Himself for it is not His will that any should perish. “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise…….but is longsuffering to us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance”. 2 Peter 3: 9
2 Samuel 14:14 speaking of the Lord, “………yet does He devise means, that His banished be not expelled from Him”. Sometimes our choices in life take us along a road that we banish ourselves from other’s lives, or a godly walk. Our God is always open to restore those who humble themselves in repentance. Calvary is an open door to return to the Lord. The blood of Jesus Christ forever speaks for those seeking redemption. 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins”.
1 John 1: 7 “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, AND THE BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST CLEANSES US FROM ALL SIN”.
The loving heart of God has made a way for all the prodigals to return. They only have to come to the end of themselves, humble and choose……and our part as parents is to surrender them to God, and trust. God works best when we stop interfering and trying to help Him out! Let go and let God……and “enter His rest”, (Hebrews 4).