A friend of mine posted this on Facebook this morning:
“We know the story of the Prodigal Son, but we should really call it the Story Of The Waiting Father. In the same time the son was away, the father waited for his return & still had a plan & gifts for him. Don’t stay captive to what holds you back from God’s plan for your life. Let it go. He’s waiting for you!” -Dr. Mark Rutland
When I read that quote this morning it struck me that I am both the prodigal and the parent; and I can see and understand both sides of the story.
It reminded me that no matter what I’ve done, my Father was waiting patiently for me to return to Him so that He can celebrate me. I can’t tell you how often I’ve been guilty of going my own way and stubbornly refusing to live the life that the Lord has provided for me because I had my own ideas of fun, success and stability. Yet, when my own efforts ran dry, I turned and found that Jesus was waiting at the end of my winding road with a loving embrace and joy-filled welcome. I am so grateful for His patient endurance with me.
As a parent, I’m reminded to be patient with my children and allow them to experience their own journey. With my children now in the young adult phases of life, I’ve found myself struggling with many of their independent decisions. There are times that I watch as they are clearly making a choice that is unwise, risky and even sinful; in these moments, I want to jump in and save them from the consequences of their actions. In some cases they are receptive to my counsel, but in others they choose to go their own way.
On these occasions, I have to remember that my role in their lives is to love them, point them toward Jesus and give them the freedom to define their lives in their own way – both good and bad. And, when they go astray, remember to wait patiently for their sweet faces to appear along that winding road and then run with all my might to embrace them and celebrate. They are, after all, the greatest gifts God has ever given me – I will treasure them always, no matter what.