The Relevance of “The Prodigal Son”

Happy second week of January, everyone! I’m not sure if that’s actually a thing, but it is now. School starts on Monday, and I’m pretty sad that the break I had so looked forward to a month ago is already coming to a close.

School is back. 🙄

And it looks like this right about now. 😆

It’s not that I don’t like school. On the contrary, I love school. I love to learn, to think, to examine, to write, to analyze, to observe, to understand. I really do love to be at work and to study. It’s something that I thoroughly enjoy.

What I’m not particularly looking forward to is the lack of free time that accompanies school. School is coming, and I’m both loving and dreading it’s arrival. My classes just became accessible today, and they’re just standing there looking me up and down. I love it, and I dread it.

But, I’m savoring the last few days of my break, and it’s been a lovely time to create memories with my family, my friends, and my faith. And yes, it is possible to create memories in your faith. Everyone has at least one.

I even made one this morning. Today was my day off from work, and it was marvelous to sleep until my eyes decided to pop open. I slept so long, and when I finally woke up, I made myself some pancakes, ate breakfast as slowly as I deemed fit, and, since the house was quiet, I busied myself with cleaning.

After the kitchen was taken care of, I tramped up the stairs—still in my pajamas—and settled down into my lime green moon chair; the one I’ve had for nearly five years and the one I’ve always studied the Bible in. It reminds me of that special easy chair that characters have in movies and books. The ones known as “Father’s chair” or “Mother’s chair” or “Grandpa’s easy chair.” That’s what my lime green moon chair is to me 🙂

I opened up to where I had left off yesterday. It seemed my next paragraph to dwell upon was “The Prodigal Son.”

Have you ever read something in the Bible millions of times that you believe you could almost quote it by heart? Have you ever thought that since you had read it that many times that there couldn’t possibly be a new way in which it could speak to your heart? “The Prodigal Son” is a story just like that. It’s been told to me so many times since I was a child, and I know the in’s and out’s of it like the back of my hand.

Today, however, I thought about something different as I read it.

We always view the prodigal son as the wayward sinner, and while the prodigal son certainly is that, I believe that as Christians we miss the relevance of this parable. It’s true that this parable is for the lost man, but it’s just as true for the Christian.

While we may not be lost in sin and lost away from our Father, there is always the danger of being lost in other things. It does not mean one has lost one’s faith. It simply means that human nature is all too real.

Perhaps we are not lost, and perhaps we know the truth. And yet, maybe we’re lost in anxiety. Lost in fears. Lost in self-condemnation. Lost in perfectionism. Lost in image. Lost in ideals. Lost in grief. Lost in performance.

The relevance of the prodigal son’s parable is forgotten among the Christians of today. We see it as the story for the atheist, the unbelieving child, the wayward man or the promiscuous woman. But what if it’s just as relevant for us as it is for the unbeliever?

And it is.

We all have things that we loose ourselves in. I know what I loose myself in, and I know that you know what you loose yourself in. We all have at least one thing. We find ourselves hopelessly lost in something that we know the Lord never wanted us to venture into.

But what really brought this home for me was reading the “Parable of the Lost Sheep” beforehand. When you think about it, the shepherd in the story didn’t rest until he found the sheep. That also concurs with the father willingly receiving the son home after his prodigality.

What made this new for me was the fact that the shepherd didn’t stop looking untilUntil he found the sheep. The one lost sheep. What that says, right there, is that the Lord sees our fear, anxiety, depression, sadness, grief, perfectionism, ideals, self-condemnation. He sees it, and he will not stop until he pulls us out of it.

The Lord sees and he knows and he goes into our struggles and he will not rest until he delivers us from it. Delivers us from whatever we find ourselves hopelessly lost in.

I’ve never thought of the “lost” stories in this way before. This also includes the “Parable of the Lost Coin.” It’s the same concept!

Anyways, this was something that really blessed me as I read it this morning, and I wanted to share it with you all. Maybe you feel hopelessly lost in something…kind of like I feel lost in perfectionism a lot of the time. Just remember that the Lord is there, seeking you and running after you as you go deeper into the fog.

Turn around. He’s always there with you.

Happy January! Hang in there…summer is coming 😉

Emily 🐻

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