The prodigal son story gets me every time. Plus, my little word (celebrate) for the year fits ever so nicely into it. And well I can see myself on both sides of the story, this week er more often than not lately I find myself as the older son. The one who keeps the list. He strives and works hard. He’s working for the Father. He’s got his little formula and his little list. He’s playing by the rules. He’s strict about life and isn’t all about “fun and games.” Nope, he’s on the straight and the narrow. He’s got this figured out and he’s just waiting to reap the benefits. Though, truth be told, he’s a little frustrated with the timing, I’m speculating. A little frustrated that things don’t seem to be happening fast enough or when he wants. He’s saying okay Father, just give me the formula, give me the list and I will literally follow it to a T and then you can give me what I think you should write into my story.
Except….the Father doesn’t really work like that. There’s no do x and get y. There’s a reminder that oh hey, daughter, you don’t own anything. I own everything. You steward. Every good and perfect gift is from Me and it’s by grace. And yet all I have is yours and I’m writing your story threading goodness and love throughout every piece.
See, stories unfold. Stories take time and they’re all unique. Which connects to my favorite boy Peter in my favorite boy John’s gospel. Peter’s saying oh hey God but what about their stories. What about what you’re doing in their lives. I don’t know if I’m down with that. What about me? Sounds a little familiar to the older son’s questions of oh hey Father what about me, why are you giving him the fattened calf? They’re both wondering…why the Father isn’t seeing them. Why they’re feeling forgotten. Why their stories are being written the way they are. And they don’t like it one bit.
There’s the potential for feeling forgotten. unloved. abandoned. unseen. unlovable.
Sounds a little like Hagar…
Sounds a little like Joseph…
Sounds a little like Naomi…
It’s the moment of the soft x when Israel responds to Joseph, ““I know, my son, I know.”
When Jesus says, “What is that to you? You follow me.”
When the angel of the Lord who came to find her says, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her.”
When the Father says, “My son,you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.”
and when yet when you’re asking about why your story isn’t being written the way you want and when someone else seems (not all is what it seems) to be getting the very thing you’re praying for and have been praying for for years that’s when god takes you by the hand and says, “Come on, daughter, we have to celebrate and be glad. I know, my daughter, I know. Keep following me. I’ll lead you by still waters. I’m the God who sees you.”
psst: for when you’re wondering if he’s in control, where you can find rest, how to live in the moment…the lovely laura cooksey just released an awesome EP yesterday and yes, you better believe it’s on repeat. a real post on it to come on the lyrics hitting my heart but until then check it out!