The story of the prodigal son.
We all have heard it …. The son who takes for granted all that has been given to him. The father who keeps watch for his lost son to return. The older brother, mad as all get out that he never had a party thrown for him. Hidden in that familiar and loved story, three words stood out to me. I have gone back to them for days to look …..
So he got up and went to his father. (Luke 15:20, NIV)
This son recognized he had made a mistake. He had taken a wrong road which was leading him no where but to despair. With his money all spent, good times long past, and friends gone, he knew something needed to change.
In his heart, he knew the truth of his father’s deep love for him. There was ever a question regarding his father. His father wanted the best for him, had hoped the dreams of his son would be accomplished in his life. This father even hoped to equip him for greatness by giving him his portion of his inheritance as he left home.
In spite of all he had, this son failed. Miserably. Once the awful realization came upon him, he came to his senses.
As I have looked at this story the last few days, three things stood out to me:
- There come a time in which we just need to get up. We cannot wallow in self-pity. We cannot let ourselves give up. “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10, NIV) The Lord is waiting, and willing, to help us to our feet.
- There comes a time in which we need to make a change. The mistake has been made. The Lord has helped us to our feet. It is time to make a change. “God does all these things to a man – twice, even three times – to turn his soul from the pit, that the light of life may shine on him.” (Job 33:30, NIV) God uses our mistakes and failures to change our lives towards an intended goal. His desire is for the outcome to fulfill His purposes in our lives.
- There comes a time in which we need to return. The son recognized his need to return to his father. May we ask ourselves where it was we first departed from God’s plan and return. God promises to meet us at our point of return. “I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.” (Jeremiah 24:7, NIV)
Perhaps you see a glimpse of yourself in this story. All is not lost. Our God is a God of mercy and hope. He truly is a God of second chances. And third too. He longs for you to return. And if you look off into the distance, you will see Him there waiting for you.
Just. Get. Up.