“True faith is that which marks a beginning, but you keep it active by your actions. True faith keeps on believing right on to the very end.” ~Stephen Potter
Do we have true faith? Can we continue to believe and trust when the situation looks hopeless? Thinking today about faith and trust I wonder at times about my own. Marsha, the mother of missionaries to Africa, told me a couple of months ago, that “many people don’t have faith to pray for a situation for the long haul”. We can’t see the end. We don’t know the answer. Are we still going to believe for what we can’t see? Are we willing to say to Him, Lord, I don’t know what You are doing in this child of mine’s life….but I have faith in You and I trust that this child I gave back to You when she was born is under Your watchful eye. The child. No matter how old they grow to be, they will always be your child. They are being watched.
However, the child has a will. To do right or wrong. To choose evil over good. The choice is a gift God gave to each of us. We have the right to determine which path to take. The wide one that looks easy as pie? Or the narrow, winding, sometimes even treacherous road that at times has a fog on it so thick you can’t see your hand in front of you. That’s the road that is toughest in the here and now. But it’s the “then” —the “eternal” that we are trusting for . It’s what we are believing for.
When you give birth to that precious little babe, they don’t come with a tag like washing instructions….”pre-shrunk—will not shrink, machine wash gentle cycle, no bleach, tumble dry low, iron medium heat if necessary”. There is no label that says, “rebellious, firm hand, but loving, sniff clothes regularly”.
It is hard to say—or point to a day when the loving child turns into the prodigal. The one that wants to take all his or her possessions and leave for “the better life”. Humph. Better indeed.
The passage labeled as the “Parable of the Lost Son”, has a few verses I want to point out. You know the story by heart. But read this:
“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ So he got up and went to his father.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. Luke 15:17-20 NIV (emphasis mine)
While he was still a long way off. The KJV says “great way off”. In my minds eye, I see that father. I think the father watched the roadway every day with “expectation”. Not only did he desire his son to come home, he expected him to come home. He wasn’t sure what condition he would arrive in. But he knew he would come home. In the deepest part of his heart, he knew that at some point he would reach the end of himself, and that his selfish ways would bring him to his knees. Right smack-dab in the middle of the pig pen.
I believe he watched expectantly for years. I don’t think the prodigal’s funds were lost in a week. Not even a month. I believe it was years. The Bible clearly tells us what the “lost son” was doing —but until the son arrives back home in a state of shame…the only thing we know that the father did while his son was away…was watch and wait. I think he watched everyday. The Bible makes no comment about the mother of the son. She may not have even been living. But if she was, I like to believe, that while the father was outside watching the roadway, the mother was inside on her knees praying for the child to find the right road home.
Sometimes the mother does both. Watching and praying for each prodigal to make it home.
Oh, by the way, go ahead and get their garments ready, get the family ring shined. Get the bathtub set, the water just right, soaps, towels all in place. For isn’t that him? Coming just now down the road?
Father, my heart cries out to You for each prodigal. I was one. You, O Lord have never turned Your back on one seeking You. You have lavished us with Your love and attention. May we each love our own prodigals as You have loved us. With compasssionate love. Forgiving love. Merciful love. Teach us Your ways O Lord. I praise Your holy name for all that You are, all that You desire to be in me, and all that You are bringing to pass in our lives for Your glory. In Your holy name I pray~Amen.
Keeping the Faith,
The Sisters (Angie)