July 26, 2004

Path of the Prodigal

The Prodigal Son was on the mountain top when he set out to squander his inheritance. He did not consider his Father, brother, or certainly the future, until he suffered loss, hit rock bottom, and was humbled. Do you have a person you love in your life that fits this description? If so, maybe this article will help.

It is tiring to watch someone destroy their life. It wears us down both physically and mentally to watch a loved one continuously make choices that harms himself and others.

Many times we allow our hopes to get high, just to watch them crushed when our expectations for another's life do not pan out. Our expectations of those we love who are walking down a destructive path should be just this - that sooner rather than later, he will come to the end of himself, hopefully before the cost of his rebellion is too great for him to bear the loss of.

When it seems as if prayer is not working, what's really going on?

Take a person who we've prayed for over the course of many years. We've prayed for this person to be delivered from a destructive lifestyle, only years later to be plunged into reality when we get the call that he's attempted suicide or worse.

Were the years we spent praying for him in vain?

The answer is no. No prayer prayed in sincerity and in faith is ever in vain.

So what happened?

He or She has not hit their Rock Bottom.

He or She has not been humbled.

He or She has not lost enough.

In other words, he or she has not had their full prodigal son experience just yet - But it's coming.

The experience

This prodigal son experience has taken place in my own life as well as in the lives of others I know.

Many I know are still out there either living it up as the prodigal son did, OR are in the process of losing all they have, as the prodigal son did in the end- Including Pride. Trust what I'm telling you, pride is always the last to go.

See, the thing is, when we have things going our way and well for us while in sin, we don't need anything, but it's more than this.

The more headstrong and stubborn we are, the longer this journey toward humbleness takes. And when humbleness sets in-freedom from Sin is not far behind.

The prodigal Son, after living it up, (Luke 15;13 there wasted his substance with riotous living.) and losing all he had, finally came to himself. (Luke 15;17: And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, 19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.) he was humbled.

The prodigal son went through famine, but notice, he did not immediately go back to his Father in his need,

instead, he turned to another person, who in turn, sent him off to feed his swine..What a job huh? If that will not humble you, I don't know what would. And keep in mind, this son had never known the depths of feeding swine. But he soon would.

Luke 13;15: And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.

Luke 13;16; And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.

This man was suffering loss, he was in need, yet no man gave unto him..

In order to change, you have to suffer loss. Loss does something to us, and the greater the loss, the greater our need is to be delivered from ourselves-hence, God, that is IF we have indeed been humbled enough.

Who knows? Perhaps we're going to try to depend on ourselves or others for rescue out of our troublesome journey instead of God. It wouldn't be the first time..

We will turn to God if we're not deluded enough to believe that WE are able to continue down the same destructive, dead end road, never getting anywhere.

Help For those who are involved

The most important help I can offer to those who are having to sit by and watch this heart wrenching journey of another?

1.Offer up continuous prayer for the person

2.Do not enable the person's rebellion to God by giving comforts that would reinforce and prolong their rebellion to God. Remember the Father in the Story in the BIBLE. He didn't go after the Son, didn't enable the Son, that would be getting in God's way.

3. If the person is in denial, do not excuse their behavior and waste your time or life listening to their lies.

A person living in denial of their sins has not reached the bottom at all. They are denying because they wish to continue their present way of life. To face the truth would be to face and take responsibility which would mean to turn from sin. That's the problem, they are enjoying their way of life still. Let them suffer great loss because of it and then they'll see it all in a new and different light, until then, don't tear yourself up worrying about them.

What did the Father do while his Son was gone?

He didn't chase after him. Instead, when the son came to himself, (his wilderness experience completed) the son returned to the Father:

Luke 13;20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.

A person who is gone astray from God and who will not change should be left alone to himself and God. How else is he going to be humbled and come to the end of himself if you are taking care of all his needs and catering to him while all the while he is destroying himself?

Where do we, the ones who love them fit in?

We are sometimes one of the casualties and sacrifices of their choices in life. We are sometimes left in the dust by the destructive choices they make during their rebellion to God. But that's what pride and selfishness brings with it : pain, sadness, grief and worry to those who love those who are in rebellion to God.

A person leading a destructive lifestyle has no time to think of you and your welfare. They cannot, everything is about what they want or what they think they need.