After my month long slack-off from blog posting I am back and with a very real, very important devotional. So if you have it in your heart to forgive me for being gone for so long (and I really hope you do), please keep reading!
Have you ever felt yourself becoming distanced from God? Or ever in a situation where you feel completely lost and out of control and, let’s face it, kind of angry for no reason? Because I certainly have, especially in the last month or so of not posting.
Recently I came to terms with the fact that I was slipping away from God. I had stopped reading the Bible every night, stopped reading my devotional book, stopped journaling, and as embarrassing as this is I even found myself ceasing in prayer more and more every day. A nagging and incessant empty feeling filled me up instead of the usual warmth and comfort I get from knowing God is there. And from personal experience I can attest to the fact that once you’ve regressed from your daily routine of Bible study, it’s hard to jump right back in. And it’s not just because you now have to deliberately make time for your study sessions, but possibly because you have to face the embarrassing and almost terrifying task of turning back to the Lord when you’ve run from Him for so long. What seems like such a simple task, to open your Bible and read a passage or two, can become daunting and often leads to a feeling that is no better explained than by the word sheepish. But the story sounds a little all too familiar right? Our story is just like the famous story of the Prodigal Son.
In Luke 14 Jesus recites parables to the Pharisees, and in Luke 15:11-32, Jesus continues with the parable of the Prodigal Son. Since I am not typing the entire passage here, I would suggest reading it as a refresher, if you haven’t already.
Essentially the parable is the story of two sons and their father. The younger son asks his father for his share of their estate, and once granted his wealth leaves the estate and squanders everything he was given. The country then begins to suffer a famine, and the son, not having any place to stay or any food to eat, found a job feeding pigs. After laboring at this job day after day and spiraling even further into a hole of depression and anger, he pulls himself up and decides to return home. As he nears the estate, his father comes running out to him, and instead of punishing the son, he throws him a grand feast complete with a fattened calf. The older son, who never left the estate gripes to his father about the party, complaining that he was never thrown a party and he never acted foolishly with what was given to him. The father’s response is simple in saying that a celebration is in order for a son who was dead but is now alive again.
What a confusing thought it is that even after having throwing away his wealth and pride, the younger son’s father still welcomes him home with open and loving arms. It seems that it would be the exact opposite reaction. But when we take a closer look at this story we begin to realize that we are the prodigal son, and the father is God. While we may stray or cease our prayers, God will always be there to welcome us back to Him when we come to our senses. I think this is best explained by verses 21 and 32:
“Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” -Luke 15:21// NIV Translation
“But we celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” -Luke 15:32// NIV Translation
Verse 21 reminds us of our damaged pride and immense embarrassment, while verse 32 tells us that when we return we will be welcomed and will reap every benefit we had before because our Lord is just that kind and forgiving. And if you still don’t believe that after everything you’ve done, the Lord will welcome you back to him try taking a look at verse 16. The younger son literally longs to be able to eat the food of the pigs he is charged with feeding. Yes, the food of dirty pigs who eat slop out of a trough. If the son’s father can forgive him even after he had reached rock bottom, then God can surely forgive you.
Finally, I beg you to find a trusted friend to use as an accountability partner. When you have someone making sure you are staying the course, it becomes easier to continue with your studies and prayer, and you’re less likely to have a “long time, no see” situation on your hands.
Thank you thank you for reading! I promise to continue with my posting every week.
Have a blessed day, -Jordan