|Amazing Grace... You cannot hide from God.|
There is no joy in feeling like a prodigal. You feel like you have a big "P" engraved on the front of your chest. Your peace is gone and you feel as though you have lost direction. You want to talk to God, but you are ever aware of your sins before you. It is as if you have allowed yourself (at your own choosing) to enter into a maze - and looking back at it, not even understanding WHY you allowed yourself to wander off the pathway and enter into a maze of confusion (which by the way is *not* of God). As you walk further into the maze you feel disoriented. No matter how you try to examine your actions, you cannot pinpoint what it is that made you decide to venture in. Or even worse - how to get out. You try talking to God - but all you hear is your voice echoing off the walls of the maze. The loneliness is stifling. Round and round you go - ending up in sections that you have already been...
What keeps you from hearing from God? Your own imperfections and sins and sorrows and disappointments in yourself which every time you try and listen to God - drown out the Holy Spirit by raising their volume louder and louder in an accusatory manner. The shame and disgrace and yes, maybe there is something that you are clinging to that you don't want to let go off. Maybe the fear of letting "go" is what makes you grip whatever it is you are gripping all the tighter.
I think of the story of the Prodigal son and I understand it. He was full of himself. Maybe he felt as if is father had too tight a reign on him. Maybe he felt as if he was "missing out on life" and he wanted to go out into the world and experience ALL there was to experience. So his father (knowing the mistake he was making, but knowing that love includes allowing someone to have free will) allowed him to go. How hard that must have been for the father? As parents we want only the best for our children, we want to protect them, keep them safe, but sometimes our children learn best by experiencing "life lessons." And the best (and hardest) thing we can do for them - is to let them go. Praying and hoping that God will keep them and draw them closer to Him.
Maybe there is a point in our walk with God where He allows us to make mistakes to learn by them. Although perhaps He would rather we wouldn't "take the hard route" but perhaps He knows that we will learn so much more about His grace, His love, His mercy if instead of "jerking us back" He allows us to have those "prodigal" experiences in our lives... Maybe He knows that through the pain of being a prodigal it will bring us a deeper understanding of what God did for us, what He gave up for us, How He loves us and maybe also - that we ALL fall short the glory of God. It is only through His shed blood on the cross that has made a way for us to come before Him.
Some mazes are deeper and wider than others. I think they are made up of our own creation, our own situations. Some walls are higher than others. What is your wall? What is your maze? Do you feel as though you are wandering all alone? Even within my own situation - I can say that I know that although I don't "feel it" I know that God is not far away. Like a parent teaching a child to walk - I know His arms are there to catch me - should I call out to Him. The enemy would have you believe that you are so far gone that God cannot reach you - but that is a lie. God loves YOU. He made YOU. He knows every hair on YOUR head. In spite of how you got to where you are. In spite of whatever your "prodigal" situation is - it has come as no surprise to HIM. How could it when He knows your thoughts before you even think them? (Psalms 139:2). He hears the mutterings you mutter as you contemplate your situation and walk through your maze. He knows your heart. There is nothing that comes as a surprise to Him. (Although things *may* surprise you).
How hard was the journey home for the Prodigal son? His sins were ever before him. What he learned, the sorrows he experienced. The Bible doesn't tell us how long that "trip back home" took him - how he must have played over and over in his head all the shameful things he had experienced. How many times did he want to turn around and go in the opposite direction of home feeling such shame? How long that road must have felt. He wasn't the same person as before he had left. How long that road must have seemed back. The Bible tells is in Luke:15 that he expected just to return home and be hired on as one of his father's servants. He didn't feel the "right" to be his son anymore. How surprised he must have been when upon that journey back home his father filled with compassion - while his son was STILL along way off - came running out to him. Running out to him. How humble the son must have felt? I imagine he broke down in tears, as he felt his father's arms around him. This was not the same "cocky" son who ventured out into the world with his inheritance in his back pocket. The life lessons he learned would have stayed with him all the days of his life and changed him to his very core.
I do not profess to have all the answers, my maze has been of my own building and I walked into it of my own accord (and that I say not as excuse, but as a fact). But I know WHO does have all the answers. I don't think it pleases God that we allow ourselves to become prodigals - but I think that God knows us better than we know ourselves and maybe He allows us to go through prodigal moments because He knows in the end He will be glorified and He knows that we will use what we have experienced to help someone else.
The prodigal son experienced more than his father ever wanted him to experience. I wonder sometimes if he shared what he had gone through with his father. If his father had listened quietly and cried silently as his son relayed his experiences that his father never intended for him to experience. Probably though, the son was too ashamed to even voice what he had gone through. Although the results of those experiences would have clearly changed him from how he had been before. I wonder if through the lessons the son had learned he was able to impart wisdom to others he came in contact with upon his return and through his experiences, help keep someone from going through all he had been through...
If you are feeling as if you have allowed yourself to become a prodigal - it is important to know this.
God still loves you. He hasn't stopped. Although your own sins, mistakes and short comings may make you feel as though God doesn't love you anymore - He does! Don't allow yourself to sink in the mire of your situation and feel as though you are all alone. It is easy to feel that way. It is easy to feel hopeless and lonely and as though no one understands. That is one of the biggest tricks of the enemy. You are NOT a prodigal - you are a child of the Utmost High God. He sees you - you are not hidden from Him. Although through your situation you may feel as though you are all alone and that nobody understands or cares - but GOD DOES. Call out to Him. You are not hidden from Him. The Bible tells (Romans 8:38-39) For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
It doesn't matter what other people think - sometimes people are quick to judge. But they haven't walked in your shoes. The only thing that matters is what God thinks. Stop worrying about other people. God looks at your heart. He is holding your precious face in His hands. He is looking deep into your eyes and He is saying, "I love YOU. Child you are MINE." He sees you, really sees you - through your imperfections, your faults and ALL. He loves YOU unconditionally. He is the ONLY One who can stand you back onto your feet. Wipe off the grime of your maze and put you onto the path He has for you. Stop listening to all the noise going on in your head. Stop listening to the judgments and opinions of others. What matters is what HE thinks, what HE says what He wants. Sometimes part of the problem we have is that we have to much noise going on in our heads and it drowns out what God is trying to tell you. When you are ready to listen, He will take you by the hand and direct you out of the maze and set your feet upon the pathway He alone has designed for you. Because the steps of the righteous are indeed ordained by HIM. (Psalms 37:23). And note that it doesn't say "some" of the steps. It is "all." Even in the "midst" of a "maze" experience - that I think is "amazing."