Bring Her Home is inspired by Jesus’ parable of the Prodigal Son (found in Luke 15:11-32) and while it’s mostly Evangeline’s story (ie, ‘the prodigal’), it’s also very much the story of a father’s grace and incredible love.
Growing up in a Christian family where my second home was our church, I’ve heard the Prodigal Son parable hundreds of times. And, to be honest, I’ve never really identified with the prodigal. I’ve always loved the story, the grace it showed, and that image of the Father waiting and watching and never giving up on his son, but it was someone else’s story. Embarrassed as I am to admit it, I’ve always identified far more with the older brother. The rule follower. The one who did the right thing, not necessarily out of love, but because it was expected of him.
I’m capable, faithful, a bit of a goody-two-shoes (or at lot, depending on who you ask) and have never committed any of those ‘big sins’, so it’s easy to forget sometimes how I, like the older brother in the parable, am just as much—if not more—in need of the Father’s grace as the prodigal.
I was thinking about this one day while writing Bring Her Home, and a picture came to life in my head. Not of this parable, but of me, stumbling through a forest.
I’d been lost in there a while and was broken, scratched, hungry, and at the very end of my strength. But though I was exhausted, I was also determined, especially when I spotted a break in the trees. Daylight. Finally. The edge of the forest. I was so close. Make it out of the forest and I’d be free.
So I pulled together one final shaky bit of strength and dragged myself broken and bleeding out of there, telling myself with each trembling step that this was it. I’d done it. I’d saved myself. I was finally free.
Only I wasn’t.
The edge of the forest wasn’t freedom like I’d thought, but a huge chasm too wide and deep for me to cross. All my hope crashed in one glance. I was done.
Utterly defeated, I curled up in a ball and sobbed. I’d done everything I could, pushed myself beyond what I could bear, almost killed myself in the process, only for it still to not be enough.
My strength didn’t matter. My determination didn’t matter. The fact that I’d gotten out of there myself didn’t either. Nothing I could do was enough, because the truth was that I wasn’t enough. I never would be.
It was over. Here, I’d die.
But then, God saw me from the other side. He saw me crying. And he lowered a bridge. Walked across it, to my side. But, when I thought he’d get me up and send me on my way over, he didn’t. He saw my exhaustion and how the thought of getting up again—even to cross to safety—was too much for me to handle, had compassion, and sat down beside me. No words. Just his presence letting me know I wasn’t alone anymore. I wasn’t enough, but I didn’t have to be, because He was.
We sat there together for a long while, before walking across the bridge together.
My favorite part of that picture? The way God saw I was exhausted, and sat down beside me. He didn’t push me to try harder, or condemn me for thinking I could. He just sat there. Waiting until I was ready to come home.
It’s that image of such perfect love and grace that brings me to my knees over and over as I think of this parable and the image of the Father it portrays. I might be more like the older brother who stayed and dutifully did the ‘right’ things, but I really pray that, when it comes to accepting grace, I’m more like the prodigal.
Which person do you most identify with in the parable of the Prodigal Son? Why?
What does grace mean to you?
How have you seen God’s grace in your own life?
God, thank you for coming to save me. Thank you for meeting me more than halfway. Thank you for your love and the incredible grace you offer every day. Thank you that, while I will never be enough, you are, and always will be.
2 thoughts on “Crown of Promise Devotions – Grace and the Prodigal”
You bring joy to my mother heart. I love your relationship with God as Father. You bless me.
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Thank you for being a life-long example to me of what it truly means to love Jesus. I am truly blessed to have you as my mum. Love you so much and am incredibly thankful for you!