Thursday, April 17, 2008
A Temporary Prodigal
I think a friend of mine has lost his noodles. Gone a little nuts. When I look at his myspace web site, I’m deeply saddened.
Yet, as I look over the pictures of carousing and cruising and of near-naked women, the Holy Spirit reminds me that He lives in my friend. He made my friend a son of God. So I ask, “And what are you doing?” His reply is reassuring—“I’m ushering him to burnout. He’s having a Prodigal Walk…but He will return.”
You know, I’m coming to rely upon what God can do with people more and more, and my confidence and rest increase as I do.
There was a time when, after looking at my friend’s web site, I would have tracked him down, sat him down, and given him a good “What do you think you’re doing, you numbskull?!” talk. I would have done everything within reason to wake him up and shake him loose from his lunacy, including the use of a defibrillator. “STAND BACK, EVERYONE—CLEAR!” That ought to do it. And I think I might have liked watching his body jump from the table, his chest surging skyward.
But, in this case at least, after I’ve checked with the Spirit about my friend, all I have for him is love. If I were to see him face to face, I would love him and hug him and say something brilliant (“I love you”), and then probably do it again. Nothing more? Nope. Why not? Because I’m simply full of trust that God is well aware and perfectly capable with His son, my friend, a temporary prodigal.
Nobody ran after Prodigal Pablo in Luke 15 in order to talk him out of his course of action. Daddy didn’t write a letter to alert cousin Baldo in “a distant country” as to his son’s arrival—please knock some sense into him. And God didn’t send a talking donkey or an angel or a plague of locusts, either.
I think the picture is that God knew Prodigal Pablo could be prodigal only so long. Eventually, he would “come to his senses” and high-tail it back home where he belonged and where he fit in (Lk 15:17). By nature a prodigal doesn’t stay prodigal. He can’t. He won’t.
Writing this, my hope is that when my prodigal comes to his senses and begins his return he won’t be greeted by shame-sayers and puffed-up know-it-alls. “I warned you, didn’t I?! Man! You were such a loser!” I hope he will be greeted the way Prodigal Pablo’s dad welcomed him home—you were a royal son when you left, a royal son in that distant country, and you’re a royal son today. I mean to convince you of it, too, so let’s get that crap off you and get you back in clothes that reveal who you really are…I see who you are, even if you don’t.”
It will be good to have him back.
Rom 2:4 “Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance?”
(Update: I wrote this more than a year ago. I am delighted to report that Prodigal Pablo has returned home--welcomed and celebrated by his Father. A few of us also danced a bit.)