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,
Of this I am certain: Living through the prodigal wilderness journey has been one of the most important events of my life. I believe it will be for you as well.
Seriously? Perhaps the words you would use would be painful, scary, hurtful, demoralizing, immobilizing….
But, you see, I have just finished the edits for submitting my manuscript for When You Love a Prodigal: 90 Days of Grace for the Wilderness. I have spent hours working through all the theme Bible studies we have considered in preparation for each Worldwide Prodigal Prayer Day.
What have I discovered? Surely God is at work. Yes, in the lives of our loved prodigals—loving them, wooing them, revealing the emptiness of the lives they are pursuing, reminding them that you love them, arranging persuasive consequences, extending grace and mercy.
But I believe He has been equally, maybe more, at work in our lives, forming in us the likeness of Christ, discovering His love, mercy and grace at depths we never knew before, realizing that the life He offers us is overflowing and abundant even when beset by pain and loss and fear. We have learned the power of prayer, the reality of intimacy with God Himself, the beauty of community with others.
And we are slowly comprehending that we can’t do it. We can’t live out love and grace and mercy as Jesus did. We can’t make things happen the way we want, when we want. We lack the wisdom to know how to give and to guide as well as restrain and correct our wanderers. We are not capable of the patience and perseverance required for this journey.
Our God knows that. But He can do all that. And He lives in us through His Spirit. Filling us and equipping us, with supernatural power–to do the impossible.
We may not know the end result—for our prodigals or ourselves—but our God promises: “… being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)
I have been so encouraged as I have worked through the book. I can’t wait for you to read it—alas, not till September.
Be strong, courageous, merciful and gracious in the Spirit,
What about you? What are you learning in your wilderness journey?
c2018 Judy Douglass