Everyday Prodigal

by

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I can be wasteful with my moments. I throw away the extravagant, the blessing, the inheritance to find myself sunk low. And it happens in an instant.

The child whines; my temper flares. The so-called friend slanders me; bitterness takes root. Plans go awry; my flesh cries out, demanding its own way. Gossip around me stirs; I enter in. I find myself bored or upset; I turn to food for comfort rather than the God who comforts.

How many ways can I fail in a single day? How much waste can I leave in my wake?

We read the parable of the prodigal son and we imagine this one, life-altering experience. We think, “Sure, I was a prodigal at one time.” But our expectations lie in wait, convincing us that once we’ve returned to the Father after that long time away, everything should be smooth. We think, “I’d never do that again.”

But then we do.

I am an everyday prodigal.

We think of the prodigal son and remember his self-centeredness and his wastefulness with the gifts given by his Father. “Prodigal” actually means “wasteful.” He cared only for himself. He didn’t think about the pain his selfishness would cause. He didn’t imagine his Father would be waiting every single day for His son to appear on the horizon.

But when he came to the end of himself, the prodigal son made a choice that changed everything. He arose. He humbled himself and began the walk back to his Father and his home.

“And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.” Luke 15:20

He arose. He humbled himself. He realized his own end and found a fresh beginning.

It amazes me, nearly three decades into this walk with Jesus, that there’s so much more to discover than what I know. He’s still piercing through my preconceptions, teaching me, breaking off lies I’ve believed. Just a few days ago, I heard a song by Crowder that rocked my idea of what it meant to be a prodigal.

“If you’re lost and wandering

Come stumbling in like a prodigal child.

See the walls start crumbling;

Let the gates of glory open wide.

If you’re lost and wrecked again

Come stumbling in like a prodigal child.

See the walls start crumbling;

Let the gates of glory open wide.”

Everyday, I wander. Everyday, I am wrecked. And everyday, I have a choice: continue or return. I don’t return to God walking tall and strong. I come stumbling in, head low, feet unsure. I think through my list of all the things I need to do to earn my place back in His home, in His heart.

But, when I’ve put one stumbling foot in front of another, pointing my toes in His direction, I barely have a chance to look up to meet His eyes before I feel His embrace, His kisses lavished on me, unworthy.

Everyday. Not just once. Not just for “something big.” For every slip, every failure along the way of this life.

Arise. Be received with open arms.

Humble yourself. Be lifted up, returned to your place of sonship.

Step towards the Father. He will come running to embrace you.

He reminds me that my list will never be enough, but His love is. He reminds me I don’t have to be strong, because He is. He reminds me that I just need to make a choice and turn my steps towards Him. He’ll make up the distance my feet could never cover.

 

“Lift Your Head Weary Sinner (Chains)” by Crowder