Grace Never Ends
My entire life Church has been a norm for me. As far back as I can remember there was Sunday school, vacation bible school, church camps, outings, and dinners. You can say church has always been a staple, however, as much as I loved Church and what it stood for I still became a little rebellious. I remember being read parables and verses and singing songs and everything made sense to me except, The parable of the lost son or Prodigal son.
I would read this or hear it talked about and always feel a little mad or confused or a little discombobulated over it.
Basically this parable is about a father that has 2 sons. One of the sons takes his inheritance and basically squanders it away, while the other son stays and follows the rules. Once the son that squandered his stuff away he comes home and says to the dad that he had sinned and asked if he could work as a servant, but the Dad is just happy to see his son and he throws a party for him. Meanwhile the son that had stayed back and followed the rules is mad asking questions like where’s my party?? The dad just tells him that everything that is his Dad’s was always his and that they should celebrate his brother coming home because he was dead and now he’s alive.
It’s a good story, but my entire life I have acted like the “good son” if you will asking the questions why is it that if I follow the rules and do what I am supposed to do where is my party or where is my recognition. It wasn’t until Sunday during Church the pastor was talking about this parable, and I’m not sure how to explain it, but I felt like I was kind of having an out of body experience. I could hear her talking, but I felt like God was saying this is important you need to hear this and he just laid it out for me in a way that I could understand. In those moments I was able to breathe a breath of fresh air that I hadn’t been able to do before.
Here’s what I got: The parable was never about the son persay. The parable is about our heavenly father! He is saying to us no matter what we do he will love us, he will welcome us back every time we wander off. He will throw us a party when we come back because he is so happy that we are alive! For those of you that don’t vere from the path he is saying everyday is a party for you because you get all of me all the time. Maybe you lose sight of that party because it has become your normal, but take a step back and know that I am rejoicing with you on a daily basis. I am so happy that you are here with me.
In the world that we live as far as having social media at the forefront of everything we do. We often times get these unrealistic glimpses into peoples lives and we might find ourselves saying why do they deserve that… Here I am over here working hard following the rules and doing what I am “supposed” to do. We do not know the ins and outs of that situation. It’s very easy to look on the outside and think that people have it all, but I bet after taking a better look there is a lot of brokenness. We have to learn to stop comparing our “party or welcome home” to everyone else’s.
There are situations in my personal life that this really hits home… I have found myself my whole life saying things like “Why do they get to just live life worry free, why do they get to make awful choices for x amount of years and then get to reap the benefits or get told they are doing a good job over situations that I have worked so hard for. I’m the one that has went through the sleepless nights, I’m the one that has shown up to events, I’m the one that has …. You get the picture. What benefits does said person get to reap? I’m the one that got to experience all of those moments, I am the one that has gotten to stock pile all the memories, I’m the one that had the privilege of getting though those sleepless nights. I am the one that got to experience what was always there for me.
I know it’s easy to hear and story and say something like “they don’t deserve (xyz)” but who are we to determine what someone deserves. Take a look back at the parable- The son that was given his inheritance early he squandered it away he was living an awful life not knowing when he would receive his next meal, not knowing where he would sleep, meanwhile the son that stayed, he got to enjoy great meals, good times, and he always knew where he would sleep. Everyday his life was a party without him realizing it. Life is like this sometimes, we tend to see a grand gesture and wonder where ours is at. It’s right in front of you.
Understand that this has taken me 34 years to understand this parable for it’s true meaning, so I am still a work in progress. I am just thankful that The Lord has welcomed me back everytime I went and squandered away his inheritance for me. I guarantee you he is there with his arms wide open waiting for you. He doesn’t think that you deserve anything but his love.
As life happens we can never be perfect, but the one thing we can do is be open to learning from our mistakes, be open to hearing perspectives, and trying to understand situations.
Next time you look at a situation and thing something along the lines “Wow, must be nice to get all that attention or free stuff or that grand gesture” Three is more to the story, and that persons day to day may be very different from yours. Focus on being the best you that you can be and understand that it takes a village and it takes our Heavenly father on our team. Invite him to be on your team.