Friday, August 27, 2010

Pig Pens and Penguins...The Prodigals in Our Prayers

In the Book of Luke in the New Testament is a familiar parable told by Christ, of the Prodigal Son.  I will paraphrase it here for you;  well sort of "modern-day"  the story...

A father had two sons.  The younger son was anxious to move on, leave his father's house and discover the world on his own.  Not only did he want to leave his father's field and business, but it seemed he just wanted to cut all ties,  leave a lifestyle and certain guidelines he was taught.  He thought the world had so much more to offer him.  He asked his father for his share of the inheritance before it was even a proper time to bestow it upon him.  Yet, his father was generous with his son, knowing he was now old enough to make his own decisions.  He loved him and although he was saddened by his choices, he let him go. 

Not long after the transactions took place, the son packed his things and headed off to a foreign land where he partied wild and hard, wasting his father's hard earned money.  After a while, there was a severe recession in this foreign land and the son began  to struggle.  He couldn't even afford food and shelter for himself.   The son found himself having to find work and all he could find was on a farm where he had to feed the pigs and clean their stalls.  This was a low point in this young man's  life.  He was so hungry, even the  food for the pigs  looked good,  yet no one even offered  that to him.

 I am sure he was filled with regret but even still,  lonliness.  Was pride an issue here?  Oh I am sure he had many debates in his head of  whether or not he could ever face his family again and the "I told you so's" he thought awaited him if he returned. 

In desperation,  the son's  thoughts turned to his  father's servants. " They were at least enjoying enough bread to keep their bellies full and here I am about to starve to death. I will go back to my Father's house and ask to be one of his servants; then at least I will be able to have food."   He was going to have to swallow his pride if he wanted to have a life.  He would plead to his father for mercy, telling him he was sorry, that he was no longer worthy to be his son and beg for favor to become his servant.
So, he packed what earthly belongings he had left, and headed back towards home,  ready to surrender his pride and  arrogance and recognize that what he learned and the love he had felt was truly worth more than all the lies the world offered up to him.  He had finally gained wisdom and listened intently to his inner voice, that Love that he was trained up on. He was hoping he could  just have a tidbit of that love back.  Would it be too late? 

His Father was out and about and saw something out of the corner of his eye, someone approaching that walked with such a familiar gait.  "Could this possibly be my long lost son?"  He dropped what he was doing and took of running with a  fury towards this person, his heart filled with more love and longing,  more so  than the pain in his arthritic knees, for he had thought his son was dead.  When he approached his son, he grabbed him and smothered him with kisses and hugs.

This long lost son was in awe of his father. He tried to hold his dad  back for he was also embarrassed by the smells that lingered of his trials and travels, of pigpens and sweat on the only clothes he now owned.  "Dad. I screwed up; I know how much I have disappointed you and God too.  Can I just work here as one of your servants?" 

But the Dad would have no part of that silly request.  He quickly made arrangements for a huge party, gathered the water for his son to enjoy a nice bath, got him some new clothes and gladly welcomed him back;  accepted,  refreshed and forgiven.  Together the family celebrated the Prodigal son who "was once lost but now is  found."  (Luke 15:32).

If we are at all familiar with this story, we know it is a picture of Jesus, welcoming back his wayward sons, those who have known the Love of the Father at one time, but have chosen a different path only to find it leads to emptiness, anger, disappointments, frustrations and lonliness.

Some of us still have sons or daughters who are making choices outside the Word of God.  As parents, we continually hold them up to the Lord in prayer.  When my second son was born, the day after Christmas, I chose to decorate his room in a "penguin" theme.  Since then, penguins have become even more popular, starring in their own documentaries and Disney movies.  They seem to be very popular this week on  videos.

" Happy Feet"  I love this movie!
If I can load these two videos, I couldn't load these videos so I am giving you the URL's and trusting you will watch to connect the dots here...These video clips were my inspiration to write this piece, thinking about my own "prodigal son", Corey, the Christmas penguin baby." 

please click and watch...

This little guy is out in the mean world, going to be lunch for some hungry Orca's.  He is swimming and paddling with all his might.  Right in front of him is a boat filled with friendly faces rooting him on.  They can't jump in after him, they can only watch and pray.  Finally the little guy finds a safe place, and jumps into the boat  where he is accepted and now protected from sure death.  A Prodigal Penguin...I bet Mom and Dad are wondering where he is, but it sure looks like his "training" kicked in! 

As Christian parents, we listen to God's Word from Proverbs 22:6  which tells us to

"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." 

Always  remembering our adult children are just that...adults,  free to make their own choices whether we like some of their choices or not is often difficult when they still live at home.   We just keep loving them and praying for them.   (we were the same way, right?) 

Eventually, some fly away remaining in grace and do well, some leave to experiment with new ideas and philosophies, some even become democrats..(lol)...and  hopefully some return to the teachings of their youth.  For those that return, God has a special outing planned for them, one they just could not attain on their own.  Secure once again in grace, buckled in with a promise, and gliding on His Spirit through life, God will steer them in the right direction; our ever present prayers giving lift to our hopes.  We as parents may not have as much patience, but God quietly waits for the return of His own wayward sons; for He longs  be the wind beneath their wings, soaring to heights unimaginable.

please click and watch.

Tell me about your own Prodigal.


  1. Coleene...a beautiful post that lifts, though I know many parents grieve over having a prodigal son...or daughter.Dr. Dobson's (Focus on the Family) own son didn't commit his life to the Lord until later in life. I read that Shirley Dobson, his mom, set aside one day a week to fast and specifically pray for her son, and she did this for years! Praise the Lord they do have a happy ending with their son returning (home) to the Lord. It encourages me to fast and pray...and to put my hope in the Lord, not necessarily in my sons.

    Thank You for your wonderful words of encouragement...I hope this new school year goes well for you.


  2. I love your last statement:

    "We as parents may not have as much patience, but God quietly waits for the return of His own wayward sons; for He longs be the wind beneath their wings, soaring to heights unimaginable."

    Thanks for sharing this, Coleene.