By Steven Davis
Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.” – Luke 15: 11-13
Dr. Randy taught through his High Stake Relationship series last month, and I thought it would be appropriate to ponder perhaps the most notorious adult child in the New Testament, the Prodigal Son.
Most commentators, pastors and teachers agree that the father in this parable represents God the Father. And the son . . . well, that’s you and me. And you know that bad or stupid decisions are not beyond our capabilities. But there may be some of us who are parents to adult kids, and they are now writhing beneath the consequences of bad decisions. So what do you do? What did God do? Well before we answer that question, let’s look a little further into the life and choices of the Prodigal.
“After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants 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 servants.’ So he got up and went to his father” (vv. 14-20).
After suffering through the consequences of his bad choices, Scripture says, “When he came to his senses…” There is the key to your prayers for your adult child. As he either celebrates his bad decisions or suffers through the consequences of it, pray for an epiphany. Pray for enlightenment. Pray for an “ah-ha” moment. And then pray that after he “comes to his senses,” he has the resolve to act.
So what did God do? What do we do? Wait. Watch. And for us, pray. The challenge with adult children is that they are adults. And as such, they may choose to ignore your advice. That’s where prayer comes in.
The great news about the Prodigal is that following his enlightenment, he repented. Repentance is kind of an old-fashioned word, but it literally means to turn around. For the Prodigal, he turned around and went home.
Now remember, this parable isn’t just about adult children; it’s about you and me and the decisions we make. Maybe you need to turn around. God is waiting for you, and He will be far more lavish in His forgiveness and love than you can ever imagine. So turn around and go home.
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