Several years back, my husband informed me that he didn’t want to be a Christian anymore and was tired of trying to do the right thing. His explanation reminded me of the prodigal son in the Luke 15 parable.
The Lost Son
In this parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32, Jesus tells a story of a man with two sons. The younger of the two asks for his inheritance and leaves his father’s home. He wastes all the money he received, leaving him poor and hungry. The son decides to head home, hoping that maybe his father will allow him to work as a servant.
Much to his surprise when he returns, his father runs to greet him with open arms. The father is delighted to see his son one again, and is quick to give him fancy clothing and jewelry. The father even calls for a special meal and time of celebration for his son who has returned to him.
When the older son sees what is going on, he is a bit taken aback. It seems unfair that he has spent years being obedient and helpful to his father, yet never got any special party or celebration.
The father goes on to explain that he loves both of his sons, but the son that was dead to him has returned, and who was lost has been found, which is cause for celebration.
The Son Who Stayed
For most of my life, every time I heard this story, I would feel bad for the older son. I likely felt this way because I identified with him very much. I have always tried to be cautious and obedient.
Even as a teen, I obeyed my parents most of the time and didn’t give them very much trouble. (Other than talking back of course!) Even today, my mom knows she can count on me for help when she needs it.
It has always made perfect sense to me that the older son would feel like he was being jipped out of a party. It seems especially unfair considering that he was the one who did everything right, while his younger brother made poor decision after poor decision.
Celebrating The Lost Loved One In My Life
It wasn’t until a few years ago that I began to understand the joy the father felt over the return of a lost loved one.
As you can imagine, it took a big toll on our marriage when my husband turned his back on God. I spent several years praying for his return to the Lord. He looked like a lost cause to many, but I refused to give up hope that God would work in his heart.
Much like the lost son, my husband had to lose many things in his life before he realized the only place he could go was back to his loving Father. After years of wandering, he finally turned his heart back to the Lord, when he saw how broken and empty his life had become.
Just over a year ago, I had the privilege of seeing my husband get baptized. It was a day that stirred up many emotions in me. I remember standing there watching him get dipped into the water, and praising God for His faithfulness, and goodness.
My husband, who had been so lost, has finally been found. Once dead in his sins, he was now alive in Christ. I could hardly contain my joy. I remember thinking of the parable of the lost son, and how much rejoicing was going on in heaven over my husband’s baptism that day.
It was that Sunday morning, that I truly understood why the father celebrated over his lost son’s return. I, too, was celebrating a lost loved one’s return: His return to the Lord.
The Return of Your Lost Loved One
Is there a lost loved one in your life? A son or daughter who is living as the prodigal? A husband or wife who has turned from the Lord? Most-likely you know someone who has gotten lost along the way.
If you are dealing with the hurt of watching someone you care about wander down the wrong path, don’t lose heart. We serve a God of miracles. A God who can do more than all we ask or imagine. (Eph. 3:20) Cling to the hope that we have in Christ and remember, our Heavenly Father is waiting to celebrate with you the day your loved one returns to Him.