Confession #21 [of a prodigal pharisee]

Confession # 21

Sometimes I only turn to the Father when all my other options fall through

“After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in the whole country, and he began to be in need…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…”

That’s from the Bible.  But it sounds like it could be from my journal – just change the ‘he’ to ‘i’. I wish that my journal read a little bit more like: I never leave the Father’s side or I get to the gate and then realize that I love Him more; that at His right hand are pleasures forever more.  But the sad truth is that sometimes I exhaust all my other options before I turn back to my perfect love.  I create cisterns to hold water, but they don’t work.  Even as I see they don’t work – I don’t throw in the towel and return to the living water, I just keep plugging the holes and trying to make it work.  It’s only when I’m dying of thirst that I go home.

Since I’m both a Pharisee and a prodigal – I manage to connect to the older brother and younger brother here.  Quite an accomplishment.  You see – I judge the younger brother here.  I feel like there should be an expiration on repentance.  And I don’t feel like it counts if that repentance only comes when there’s no other option. 

But the irony is that I AM the younger brother.  I can see that clearly.  I see clearly that I only turn back to God after there are no other options, and even then – left to my own devices I would still stay at the empty and broken cistern trying to make it work.  Even when there are no other options – I don’t turn back to God.  He has to come and rescue me and overcome my desire to hang out in the pig pen. 

So it’s kind of crazy and frustrating that I judge others who are in the same position I am. 

The only hope for us?  His gift of Faith.  What ultimately leads the younger brother back to the Father is faith in future grace.  He believes that the Father can provide a better life than the pig pen.  He believes that the Father offers more hope. 

May God grant me that same faith.  May I wake up tomorrow believing that at His right hand are pleasures forever more.  May I wake up tomorrow and by His grace  believe that there is more joy by His side than on any grand adventure.

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