Most of us have at least one prodigal in our lives. You know who I mean, those people that you pray for, those dear ones you so desperately wan't to see come to Christ. Having been a person fighting for the salvation of my own son, and having lived through it to see the victory, I want to share some things that helped me hang tough through the process.
Jesus knew that we would have prodigals. Your prodigal was not a surprise to Him. The prodigal in your life may be a surprise or disappointment to you, but He’s not sitting up in heaven wringing His hands over it. He is working on it, sitting on the front porch watching, hopeful, and making plans. He knew prodigals would happen, that is why He armed us with the most beautiful reconciliation story ever written about a lost son. The story is found in the book of Luke.
You see, God is the ultimate reconciler. To reconcile means to restore friendly relations between. To kiss and make up. To live in harmony with. 2 Corinthians 5:18-20 tells us, “And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” (NLT)
When it comes to how we approach our prodigal, there is no pattern to follow. There are no rules of engagement to adhere to, because every situation is different and each person is unique.
The only universal rule is love. And yet sometimes love is the hardest thin to give because frustration, fear, hurt and anxiety all come into play. If you begin experiencing these emotions, stick close to Jesus. He promises that, "You (God) will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!" Isaiah 26:3 (NLT)
We do not fight against flesh and blood, so we don’t fight with the prodigal. Our battle is not with the person! As much as you may see, feel, smell, and all your senses may be on high alert, screaming at you to fight with that person... we must fight for them in the spiritual realm.
We put on the armor of God and we persevere. We go to battle in prayer and we don’t. let. go. We don’t give up. We claim every promise and keep our eyes trained on every sign of movement and hope. And then we claim those signs and we hold on. We cast down every lie of the enemy. We recount every promise.
Here’s the bottom line. We were once prodigals. Far from God. He paid the ultimate price to bring us back. When we came home to God He didn’t constantly rub our nose in it. He didn’t continually make us pay for our rebellion and sin. He welcomed us us back, he ran out to meet us, even. He threw HIS robe of covering over us, put His royal ring on us and LOVED US!
That’s how we need to be with those who return. LOVE is and will always be the answer.
And one more word of advice on how you survive this season. Let people in on it. Let people stand in faith believing for your prodigal to come home. Because when it happens, and I believe it will, you can all celebrate together. You can all say like the prodigal’s dad, “this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began." You will look at those who have stood strong with you, with joy, and say, "LET THE PARTY BEGIN!!!"