Prodigal Children

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The fuss began with a plate of scrambled eggs and two orange wedges. Here I was, thinking how nice it was that I had provided my son with a healthy breakfast, but all he cared about was that the eggs were scrambled, not fried.  (A thousand pardons, oh Picky One.) But I dug my heels in and told him I didn’t care if he liked it or not, he was going to sit at the table until the eggs were gone. Period. He cried, told me I must not love him, and announced he was running away if I made him eat the eggs.

Thirty minutes later, I heard his dresser drawer slamming as he packed. He collected six clean pairs of underwear (guess I’m not a total failure as a mom) and a bagful of beanie babies. Before he left, he laid one last guilt trip on me. “Mom, I guess you got what you wanted. Now you have time to write.” Then the door slammed and he was gone.

I watched from the window as he pushed his bike down the street, laboring through ice and snow, and thought about how stubborn he was being. Did he really think he was smarter than me? Did he actually think he was going to last ten minutes in 8 degree weather? A short while later, the back doorbell rang and Mark came home. He dumped his bags on the floor and said, “I figured out what I’m gonna do. My bags are too heavy to reach Zach’s house, so I’m gonna stay here.” I welcomed him with a hug, told him I loved him, and sent him back to finish the eggs.

Don’t we do this same thing to our heavenly Father all the time? Resist His way and struggle against His guidance? We convince ourselves that we know better. Sometimes we try to ignore His Word simply because we don’t like what it says. Nevermind that it’s good for us, we feel it won’t make us happy so that’s that. We read the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15) and perhaps scorn his foolishness. I know I have. I was like the older son, who thought the younger got what he deserved and felt a flash of anger when the father welcomed him home again.

But we are all prodigal children. Leaving God to run after our own desires, thinking our way is better, seeking happiness away from Him. Only when we stumble and fall do we seek Him again. Mark’s little episode this morning took two hours out of my day, but opened my eyes at the same time. I’m so thankful to be God’s child, knowing He is “full of compassion, and gracious, Longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth.” (Psalm 86:15)

I wish I could say Mark has learned his lesson. I wish I could say I have learned mine. But all I can say for sure is this: God’s grace is never less than my sin, and He will always lead me home.

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6 thoughts on “Prodigal Children

  1. I laughed out loud when Mark said, “I guess you got what you wanted, Mom. Now you can write.” Hahahhaaa! I’m still laughing at that one, actually.

    But you DID have time to write, and you wrote something quite beautiful. So you should probably fry Mark’s egg next time. 🙂

    1. I know, Cath! I wanted to say to him, “Actually, I have less time to write because after keeping track of where you’re traipsing through the neighborhood, I still have to make you eat the eggs!” *tears out hair*

  2. Ditto what Cathy said. Great post.

    Your comments, specifically, “Did he really think he was smarter than me?” reminded me of part of my morning affirmation prayer: “I am receptive to your will for me. I will get out of your way.” We do have a tendency to think we know best about things, but when we trust and get out of the way, wonderful things happen—like this post. Great job, Deb. (From a strictly writerly standpoint, your first line delivers like gold. Sucked me right in.)

    1. Thanks, Lisa! I love your prayer, too. If Jesus could pray, “Your will be done” then that’s good enough for me!

  3. Thanks, Deb! I really needed this today. As I was reading your post, I thought of Lamentations 3:22-23: “The LORD’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness.” I love these passages – they not only remind me that I have a loving, patient, compassionate, and merciful God, but they comfort me and get me back on the right path when I’ve tried to work things out ‘my’ way!

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