Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Return to God's Truth

I am, thank God, a work in progress.  I am not perfect; in this life, I never will be.  But, praise be to God, He loves me anyway, and is willing to keep at it, despite my ignorance.

The situation with Steven obviously weighs heavily on my soul.   I hear victorious tales of parents who "hit the street" looking for their runaway son or daughter, quitting their jobs, using the last of their savings to travel to places, havens for the missing or lost.  Folks who have lost everything, but have been tearfully reunited with a drug-addicted child who would have remained lost and astray had it not been for the tenacity and courage of self-less, loving parents.  Then there's Luke 15:1-10, the parables of The Lost Sheep and The Lost Coin.  "What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it?" it queries.  Of the lost coin it asks, "What woman...does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it?"

Me.  The only answer I had.  What could I say?  Was I to truly leave my job, putting husband and children naked and hungry, out on the street because I no longer had income to clothe and feed them?  That's if my family hadn't already left me over my obsessing and negligence.  How does that work?  Why don't I have enough faith?  Beloved, that's when Satan got me right where he wanted me.  Until I finally used my God-given sense to read and pray over the passage I had so blatantly taken out of context.  My faithful, loving, patient Father then spoke to me:

1)  I do not own the sheep or the coins; I am a fellow sheep/ coin.  As much as we parents like to think of children as our own, they are not.  The sheep, the coins, my son all belong to God.  Twenty years ago he sent me to "search for" Steven, to unite him with the rest of us sheep/ coins, to minister to his needs and to plant the seed of the Gospel, just as Jesus was doing when the Pharisees admonished Him for associating with the dregs of society.  That was a privilege, not an entitlement.  It is not for me to take on the role of shepherd or owner, and decide how this pursuit is to go.  Nor can I save Steven; that's not my job, and is arrogance to think otherwise.  My role in this search is limited to God's instructions to me.  If God does not put me on His search party today, He has a Plan; who am I to say I should always be part of it?  Incidentally, our home is Steven's earthly home, not "the fold" or "the purse" God designed for us.  No matter what Satan tries to say.

2)  These parables are followed, in the perfection of God's Plan, by The Parable of the Prodigal Son.  My son is not "lost" in the way sheep wander off or coins roll away.  The sheep did not look their Father in the eye, tell little sheep lies, take money from the shepherd's bank account to fill up the tank in their little sheep Jeep, and look over their woolly sheep shoulders to make sure no one was watching as they drove off in the middle of the night.  These were not prodigal, willful, demanding, insolent coins.  My son has made choices.  His choices have taken him far from his Father, but he has not ignorantly, innocently, carelessly wandered off.  In the case of the prodigal, the father did not actively search, only kept watch, allowing his son to tire of the emptiness and ruin he found outside his father's loving care.  I was a prodigal; it took hitting rock bottom to turn me back to my Father.  I can only pray God keeps Steven safe and works through his experiences, as He did mine, to convince my son his Heavenly Father's arms are his real home...

just as my patient, loving Father still, today brings me back to His truth when I have sometimes lost my way
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