Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Progidal Years

Romans 8:28-30

"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.  For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;  and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified..."

I am on the far left - Photobombing in 1982

I have to admit something.  I have found out that becoming and being and walking as a Christian has left me with one huge regret:  I wish I would have done this much sooner.  When I look at this picture where I was just a little kid,  I still see the dreams and the hope within me that was life back then - I had the whole world ahead of me. All I had to care about was the next fine day.  This world though, would pull me in later in life and bring me to my knees with the pain and all of tears and worry I would cause myself and others all in the name of having fun and a good time. I had no idea in this picture, that one day I  would become, a prodigal son.

   What sense is there to make of the years many of us have spent so far away from right, running to what was wrong, and laughing along the way?  I have found solace and comfort in coming to the knowledge that, at least for me, these things had to take place to get me to this very moment where I am writing this blog entry today.  I could have had babies and a wife, a million dollars - but nothing, not one of these would bring me the peace and calm I feel knowing that right now in this season of my life,  I have never been happier.  It has everything to do with God.  Not God the creator, but God the Father. The long walk back to His love has led me to realize that all along the way, these lessons and failures, and sometimes tragedies,  were taking place because He loved me. He wanted me to return to Him - to know Him, and in His infinite wisdom and understanding, he knew exactly what that would take. I believe that here are no coincidences with our Lord.  I was never meant to be or do anything but to return to Him so I could walk with Him.  It is and always has been my purpose in this life. This is the will of God for all of mankind.

   The last few lines in the story of the prodigal son are deeply impacting to those who have been the recipient of God's undeserved favor and kindness after living a life so seemingly undeserving.  They read in part, "...we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found. " (Luke 11:32)  If we were to take these scriptures at face value, we see that the prodigals among us were once dead and lost,  now alive and found.  We tend to be very merciful and gracious, since so much grace and mercy has been cast upon us. (Luke 7:41-43)  When we are forgiven much, we love much in return.  We have learned the hard lessons, and now realize that they have been responsible for our molding and shaping us into vessels of honor and fine use in The Lord.  The Shepherd in the bible abandons the ninety nine sheep just to find the one that is lost. And what is the response to those of us that are found?  Luke 17:7 tells us,  "I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent."  Instead of dwelling upon the failures of our past - all these things that we cannot change, find peace in knowing that by the very hand of God, you have changed. It is by the will of God that we are now his own, and he has known this all along.  Make peace of the pieces in our lives when we were lost. Find and embrace the grace of being found.  I can honestly say now that I would not change my yesterdays - they have changed all of my tomorrows, and everything I am today.   I am a prodigal son.