“And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living.”
When a man or woman gets to this point, we shake our head at that one’s future. Often they will make a long journey, without comfort and aid. And yet the prodigal will not be dissuaded or relent. He leaves it all behind, with a gleam in his eye for the future pleasures ahead. He thinks it’ll be different for him.
‘The far country“ is his vague destination. He has been told of the ‘bed of roses’ that can be his. He has anticipated this moment and savored it. He will finally be free to pursue everything that might come his way. There is a deep sense that he has arrived. He is now a man, with all the prerogatives and benefits of manhood.
The prodigal fully intends to savor these moments of freedom. He has broken free from his past which only stifled him. He has come to the place where all that really matters is being ‘cut loose’ from his old life. He is a man who is running, trying to escape all that he was, and actually looking forward to a future separated from his father’s influence.
He has burned all his bridges. He intentionally will not look back. In his mind he is free, and he will never again have to serve his father. He doesn’t walk, he struts. There is an arrogance and confidence that he has taken control. In his small world we find an ignorance and a foolishness that is truly an astonishment. We see his precarious situation. We want to shout to him, ‘watch out’, be very careful! But he fully intends to press through, and to make his fantasy work.
Several months ago I met an old friend outside Safeway. He is a prodigal who is still ‘slopping pigs.’ He is a gifted musican and played in a worship band. He was so happy to see me; he gave me a big hug and introduced me to all his equally lost friends. He has been drinking a lot lately, but he called me his ‘pastor’ when he took me around to meet everyone. It’s been cold here and I worry about him. He is now homeless.
For every prodigal there are ‘bumps in the road.’ Over time the prodigal gets ‘taken in,’ and is vulnerable. He rationalizes and attempts to figure it out himself. This only increases the tension. He realizes nothing, and will receive nothing. The prodigal has been sabotaged by his own choices.
Often we are confused as we come to this terrible place of personal weakness. We were the ones who made the awful choices; we did it to ourselves. We have become, truly desperate and needy. We are at a place where only Jesus can make it work.
Our machinations and maneuverings have brought us to a lostness and desperateness.
The prodigal teaches us, and we learn from his commitment that brings us to an authentic walk with Him. Our pretenses will dissolve. There will be nothing which will penetrate or advance over Him. He has conquered us, and has brought us to this rich and lush place. The Father is eager to bring him all the way home. The Lord will finish what He has started. Isn’t it time to return?
“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”
Philippians 1:6, NLT