“And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything” (Luke 15:16). The younger son in Jesus’s story of the prodigal has entered the depth of despair, when the world has nothing left to offer. He had taken his father’s inheritance and boasted, “I will do it my way.” There is an irony that the most requested song at funerals is Frank Sinatra’s, “My Way.” It is still a funeral, the world has nothing left to offer. But this was not his funeral, and the younger son had time yet to remember. “How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger!” (Luke 15:17).
This is Jeremiah’s lamentation, “my soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is. My endurance has perished” (Lamentations 3:17-18). This is the plight of Israel, the opportunity to turn their whining and wailing from “Why should this happen to me” to “Why should not this happen to me?”
“The Lord is in the right,
for I have rebelled against his word.” ~Lamentations 1:18
And now there is hope.
Remember my affliction and my wanderings,
the wormwood and the gall!
My soul continually remembers it
and is bowed down within me.
But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope. ~Lamentations 3:19-21
Hope is the flower that blooms in the desert of despair. The younger son turned his back to the world and returned to his father, and “the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate” (Luke 15:22-24).
Heavenly Father, You are good, and You are good to me, more than I deserve. But you are also fair and just. When I neglect Your Word, when I stray from Your leading, I get lost and I find trouble. I can’t blame You for that; it is the consequence of my desires.
What amazes me is when You come searching for me when I’m the one who got myself lost. You lead me back to Your path, and welcome me back as if I had never strayed. I know what I deserve, and it’s not Your love and grace. Thank You for not giving me what I deserve, and giving me what I don’t. Your mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness.