This is the fifth post in a weekly series of mini-devotionals on TRUST, which is the theme of the 2015 June 2 Worldwide Prodigal Prayer Day. This letter goes to the members of the Prayer for Prodigals community, but it is true for all of us.
Dear Lover of Prodigals,
Many years ago I wrote a book called He Loves Me.
The purpose: to explore whether or not I could consistently believe—trust—that God loved me.
The cover is a daisy. The first chapter begins with a list of antiphonal good and bad circumstances, figuratively pulling daisy petals with “He loves me, He loves me not.”
How many times have we who love a prodigal done just that?
We rejoice in His love–“He loves me”–when we see good progress with our loved ones: not drinking in response to a disappointment, studying and making good grades, hanging out with better friends, getting a job and working hard, keeping his word….
But we cry out our doubt–“He loves me not”–as each new bad choice surfaces: she was caught shoplifting, he got his girlfriend pregnant, he drove high and got a dui, she refused to eat and lost five more pounds….
Our hearts and our minds can’t comprehend how some of the choices and consequences we experience with our prodigals can be love. Does God really love me? Does God love my child, my spouse, my sibling? Can I trust Him?
Books are written and songs are sung about the love of God. As a new Christian in my teens, I was deeply moved by “O the deep, deep love of Jesus, vast unmeasured, boundless, free…”
Clearly, in this small space, we can’t do justice to that vast love, but we will consider very briefly four realities to confirm to our hearts and minds that God does, indeed, love us.
Proclamation of love. Does God love you and me—and our prodigals? Has He said he loves us? Throughout Scripture God proclaims His love for us, but nowhere more clearly than in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Proof of love. It’s easy to say it. But can He prove it? Clearly. Definitively. Incontestably. Unmistakably. You know the verse: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
Promise of love. But love can be lost. What if my prodigal does something so terrible that I can no longer love her? What if he doesn’t repent and return to God? Will God quit loving him? What if I do something so terrible that God quits loving me? Here’s the promise:
“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any othe r create d thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)
Permanence of love. Seriously–God’s love is forever. He says so in Jeremiah 31:3: “The Lord appeared to him from afar, saying, ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.’”
Can I believe that He loves me? Without a doubt. And my prodigal? Assuredly.
So can I trust Him? That’s certainly where the question comes, isn’t it. Does his love mean He is trustworthy, even though what He does or allows does not always seem loving?
Apparently, in His vastly superior knowledge and unfathomably truer love, He knows realities that are loving, even when they don’t feel like love to me.
Personally, when the events and circumstances of my life become painful, confusing, crushing, I have to go back to what I know about God, the truths we have looked at so far:
I know that His glory is incomprehensibly greater than I can grasp.
I know that He is God—mighty, sufficient, faithful and the creator of the immeasurable universe.
I know that He is good—in His very essence.
And I know that glorious, powerful, good God loves me.
Can I trust Him? Yes I can.
In the weeks remaining until June 2, we will explore how that trust unfolds in our lives with our very loved prodigals.
Trusting in Him,
What about you? How have you experienced His love?
C2015 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 write to me at PrayerforProdigals at gmaildotcom.