How to Wait for a Prodigal Child
I've been struggling with something for a while now, regarding relationships. Hence the birth of this blog. I've got it in my head that the only way a relationship can be restored or even have a new beginning is for you to pursue those you want to share life with. There are a couple things wrong with that thinking. Let me just say at this point, we all have very different ideas of what pursuing means & each his or her own interpretation. What does the dictionary say pursue means?
- follow (someone or something) in order to catch or attack them .
- seek to form a sexual relationship with (someone) in a persistent way• seek to attain or accomplish (a goal), esp. over a long period • archaic or poetic/literary (of something unpleasant) persistently afflict (someone)
- (of a person or way) continue or proceed along (a path or route)
- engage in (an activity or course of action) • continue to investigate, explore, or discuss (a topic, idea, or argument)
What does the Bible say pursuing God means? But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul. Deuteronomy 4:29.
I think all of us would agree that to have a healthy relationship of any sort with anyone takes some pursuing from both sides, right? It's not a game of hide & seek. For example, if I never call someone or communicate to them that I want to spend time with them, what does that say to them? The relationship dies without any pursuing going on. What about cases where the pursuing is one sided? Eventually, the pursuing side gets the message...the pursuing slows to a stop. Okay. Good. That's all very easy to understand. Friend A grows apart from Friend B...they're both going in different directions...this happens & it's okay. You just move on with life thankful for the time and the memories. But what about family relationships? Is it okay to just move on, being thankful for the time and the memories? Everything inside my heart screams a resounding NO! Am I right?
Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. Psalm 34:14
He who pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor. Proverbs 21:21
O LORD my God, I take refuge in you; save and deliver me from all who pursue me. Psalm 7:1
Speaking of family. We know the story of the prodigal son. What a story. One that many of us can relate to on a personal level. Even if you can't relate personally, you know a family who has or is experiencing this. What happened here? In a nut shell, the child said, "I'm leaving, give me my inheritance." To me, this is an attitude that speaks volumes. This is what I hear him saying, “you owe me and I want it now” as he stomps his feet. So, he got what he wanted and he left. He was gone for a long time. At first, it was party time. Then, reality hit. He found himself wallowing in the trash. It wasn't until he was at his lowest point that he realized where he was and what he was doing...it was then, and only then, that he came to his senses.
My question about this story is this - did he pursue his family while he was gone? No. My next question is this - did his family pursue him while he was gone? No. That's where I've struggled. The first struggle was to let go. That is the most difficult thing any parent can ever imagine doing let alone actually doing it. The pain is unbearable. So unbearable that you become numb and almost in a dreamlike state wondering how in the world you got here. The emotions that come with it are guilt, pride, fear, relief, on and on it goes. Right, wrong or indifferent that's the raw reality. The parent in this story waited....waited and waited some more. That's not all he did while he waited.
So how did he wait for a prodigal child? While scripture doesn't tell us everything this child's father did, but as a parent I can imagine how it looked.
How to Wait for a Prodigal Child
He prayed. He trusted. He watched.
But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. Luke 15:20
He never stopped loving. He forgave.
But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found. So they began to celebrate. Luke 15:22-24
We do see that his father was ready. But nowhere does it say he pursued him. We know he stayed where he was and went on with life as best he could because of the older son's complaint, "All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders." verse 29.
Rest in God alone, my soul, for my hope comes from Him. Psalm 62:5
Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD. Psalm 27:14
Oh, Father, help me while I wait.