Once a month I write a letter to the wonderful Prayer for Prodigals community I am part of. Often those letters, though specific to those who love a prodigal, apply to any or all of us in the challenging circumstances of life.
Dear Lover of Prodigals,
Yield signs stand at many intersections in our neighborhood. Stop signs, equally observable, carry power: You must stop (though in Florida many don’t). Yield signs, though, assume discernment and good will on the part of the driver—to look and see if I need to stop or if it is safe to go forward.
God also has stop signs and yield signs.
Scripture contains many stop signs—direct commands of do this or don’t do this: Love God. Love others. Don’t commit adultery. Do not murder. Forgive others. Give thanks. Don’t worry. Don’t boast. And many more. All serving purposes of protecting us and our relationships.
God’s yield signs are more subtle. They seem to say, “Pay attention. Keep your eyes open. Be careful. Be wise.” The Book of Proverbs is filled with such warnings: “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” “Do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight…then you will go on your way in safety and your foot will not stumble.”
God says, “See where you need to yield, give the right of way, and you will be safe.”
Yield signs, for me, most often fall in the “claiming my rights” category. I find myself saying, “I deserve…” or “I have earned…” or even “God owes me….”
I find it especially difficult to yield when it comes to my prodigal. And to how God is working in his life.
I think/say: “This has gone on long enough. I have loved, disciplined, encouraged, provided consequences, granted mercy. Yet still he hasn’t fully gone in the path I think he should.”
Or, “I have believed, hoped, been there, listened, admonished, loved, rescued, given grace. Yet still he barely acknowledges what I have done for him and doesn’t consistently choose a better way.”
Don’t I deserve to see some results for all my perseverance? Can’t I expect some appreciation or gratitude? Doesn’t my unconditional love merit love in return?
God says, “Yield.”
That is what God said to Jonah when he objected that God relented and didn’t destroy the Ninevites: “Is it right for you to be angry?” Or to our point: “Do you have a right to be angry?”
God’s Yield Signs often look like this: “My ways are not your ways.” “I will accomplish My purposes in your loved one’s life.” “I am the Lord. In its time I will do this swiftly.”
Gently He reminds me to give up my demands, let go of my expectations, release my presumptions and assumptions. And yield my rights.
And Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)
With love and grace,
What about you? Where do you need to yield?
c2013 Judy Douglass
If you would be interested in requesting prayer for a prodigal loved one, or being a part of our wonderful praying community, respond in comments or message me on FB.