11 To illustrate the point further, Jesus told them this story: “A man had two sons.12 The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.’ So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons.
13 “A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living. 14 About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve. 15 He persuaded a local farmer to hire him, and the man sent him into his fields to feed the pigs. 16 The young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything.
17 “When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! 18 I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you,19 and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”’
20 “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. 21 His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.[a]’
22 “But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. 23 And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, 24 for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.
25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the fields working. When he returned home, he heard music and dancing in the house, 26 and he asked one of the servants what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother is back,’ he was told, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf. We are celebrating because of his safe return.’
28 “The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in. His father came out and begged him, 29 but he replied, ‘All these years I’ve slaved for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends. 30 Yet when this son of yours comes back after squandering your money on prostitutes, you celebrate by killing the fattened calf!’
31 “His father said to him, ‘Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours. 32 We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!’”
Since 2011 I’ve been at home, working in my Father’s field while my man worked away from home. Let me clarify a few things from the get go: my man is a son, adopted into our Father’s family since he was a teenager. But during the last 8 years as he traveled for his job, his heart became lost. He didn’t waste his money on wild living. He faithfully supported his family. He didn’t squander his inheritance on prostitutes. He remained faithful to his wife. But, as a self-confessed prodigal, he admits that he left his Father to pursue a life on his own.
During that time, I tilled the ground at home: managing the estate, training the kids, homeschooling, and doing the work of the ministry. I slaved away….and I was continually angry. I was angry that I was doing IT ALL alone. I was angry that my frequent flyer platinum preferred man left at the beginning of each week. I was angry that my frequent flyer platinum preferred man came home for weekend layovers. I prayed for him to come home permanently. I begged. I pleaded. I yelled. I threatened. All to no avail. He couldn’t see that he was starving in the farmers field. He couldn’t hear that I was starving for his love and his leadership. As days turned into months that turned into years, I eventually began relenting to corrections from those in the body of Christ who love me, “Jodie, LET. IT. GO. You can’t fix it.” I finally gave notice to the “Mrs. fix it” job when I surrendered to the Spirit at my annual spiritual heart exam this spring. Through the ministry of a pastor (gift, not title) in NC, the Spirit revealed that my heart was done (literally DONE; it had been boiling in a pressure cooker!). I agreed with the Spirt and declared “I’m done.” Two weeks later during a worship service in FL, the Spirit showed me the done heart again… along with a jello heart. He commanded: “choose one.” I chose jello, and He crushed the done heart into ash.
I won’t speculate that my obedience to the Spirit helped cause a radical shift in our circumstances the following months, but I don’t believe in coincidence. God uses ALL things for our good, according to His purposes, not our own. (Romans 8:28)
Around the same season, my man came to his senses in the pig trough. He began seeing the Holy Spirit burn his hardened heart from the inside out. He started to feel again: longing for relationship with the Father, with his wife, and his children. He confessed. He repented. And a short time later, someone from his companies HR department asked him to apply for a newly created position. He applied. He interviewed. He was flown to headquarters. He was given the job. He accepted. And the location where this newly created global position would be based from? AT HOME!
Oh, how the Father rejoiced when He saw his son come home! As my man received his robe and ring and sandals and gathered with family in celebration, I stood outside the party pouting. Me, the prodigals sister in the Lord. Me, the one who prayed for the prodigal to come to his senses. Me, the Father’s daughter who stayed at home.
Me. Me. Me!
As steaming hot lava began flowing out of a volcano of emotions, I realized my sense of justice was unbalanced. From my perspective, I deserved to be praised and celebrated for staying at home the entire time! After all, I was the one who had been doing what the Father said. And now, because my brother had finally come to his senses and come back home where he belonged, the entire family was rejoicing like it was 1999…uh, I mean, 2019!!!
Yep. There it was, hidden in my Pharisaical heart: spiritual pride. Only the revelatory conviction of the Holy Spirit could give me eyes to see and ears to hear. Only deep grief through the gift of repentance could remove it. And now, this sister is rejoiceing in the celebration of her brothers homecoming, knowing that:
WE are His beloved children.
WE have been given an inheritance.
WE have the freedom to choose life or death.
WE have been lost.
WE have been found.
WE have received a robe and a ring and sandals.
WE will celebrate together, at the wedding feast with the Father and the Spirit as the Son is joined with His pure and spotless bride (Revelation 19). What a celebration that will be for the family of God, for all eternity!!!