Today, once again, I found myself praying for my 22-year-old son to come to his senses like the prodigal son of Luke 15. I begged God not to let it be years like it was for me. But who am I to think that I should bypass that time on my knees for my child just as my parents did for me many years ago? I went directly to that familiar story in Luke and my eyes kept going back to verses 14-17, especially the gap between verse 16 and 17. You see, the son had nothing and was expecting the world to give him something and then verse 17 says, “When he came to his senses.” What’s amazing is Jesus never says how long it took for him to come to his senses! That’s because for every prodigal the time frame and circumstances are not the same.
It took me years to come to my senses and realize that I would never be satisfied with the “pods that the pigs were eating” (verse 16), ie- the things of this world. Everybody has certain pods that they desire such as temporal things like climbing up the corporate ladder, making lots of money, having the perfect spouse and family, driving new cars, living in large house with someone else cleaning it, owning the latest gadgets, wearing the latest fashions, living a life for pleasure,etc. Because I too wanted all the world had to offer as a young twenty-something, I must be patient with my son just as God was patient with me; even if it means that he finds himself out in this world feeding the pigs (working hard to make some other pig rich) and longing for their pods.
When you really listen to the words of Jesus in these verses, you realize that we are living in a world full of selfish pigs!! Why do we long to fill our lives with what the pigs have? Jesus said even though the prodigal longed for these things, no one gave him anything (verse 16)!! That’s because the ruler of this world, Satan has taught us that it’s all about me! So if life is all about me, why would I want to give my pods to someone else? Thankfully, when a person comes to his senses and returns to Jesus, they realize that the pods of this world are things that rust, moths destroy and thieves steal. Who wants a pig’s pod when you can have the treasures stored up for us in heaven? (Matthew 6:19-20)
Oh Lord! Forgive me for wanting the pods of this world. I pray that my son will come to his senses and not waste time on temporal things that will not satisfy. Open the eyes of his heart to see that your children have the only real and lasting thing that will fill us, your Spirit who dwells in them. Lord, I pray that he will not drown out your Holy Spirit with the pods of this world.
Unfortunately, most prodigals have to hit rock bottom before they come to their senses just as the son in Jesus’ story did. For others, their days are numbered a great deal shorter than most of their peers. As I write this, the parents of my son’s first college roommate are grieving the senseless death of their 21-year-old son. My heart aches for this family and for the friends who tried to save him. Why do prodigals think they are invincible? Could it be that they are deceived by their enemy? Don’t you know God is angry and grieving too? Satan’s schemes to deceive the young people haven’t changed and I am fighting mad! I will stay on my knees for my son to return to the only thing that can satisfy; a close relationship with Jesus our Lord and Savior.
I am extremely grateful that God’s mercy saved me and allowed me a second chance. We will never understand why God allows some prodigals to lose their lives at a young age, but I must believe that God can and will work in all things for the good of those who love him and NOTHING and NO ONE (not even Satan) will separate us from the love of God.
So I pray on!