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Life’s Hard Lessons

Jesus continued: "There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So, he divided his property between them. Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living."
Luke 15:11-13, NIV

Sometimes we learn through the school of “hard knocks” or we see an event as a reminder of a lesson learned long ago. Recently I witnessed a lesson learned by Jay, my daughter Becky’s seven-year-old house cat. Jay is so precious, loving and sweet…and inquisitive. Jay has it made in life: free room and board, air-conditioned quarters, and plenty of love and attention. Yet, as they say, “the grass is always greener...” And Jay is also clever, cunning and sneaky.

Last week early one afternoon, I noticed that I had not seen Jay around the house, so I checked with Becky as to Jay’s whereabouts. Soon we were all searching high and low in the house for Jay. Yet he was nowhere to be found. After an hour of looking repeatedly in the same places, we came to the sad conclusion that somehow Jay had managed to leave the safety of his home to venture out to “greener pastures” and experience the world. We spent the next four hours searching the neighborhood. We drove, walked, prayed and then repeated the process until sunset.

The great news is that Jay did find his way home later that evening, and we all celebrated and said prayers of thanksgiving. Yet Jay was very dirty, hungry and quite traumatized.

Jay’s sojourn reminded me of Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son and of my own adolescent years when I longed to live life my way, on my terms. My guess is that you too may have experienced a rebellious streak at some time in your journey and that you, perhaps, ventured into another pasture that certainly seemed to be greener. The good news from Jesus in the story of the “prodigal son” is that when we stray from God’s path for our lives, He is waiting to celebrate our return. So, if you are feeling a little on the dirty, hungry and traumatized side of things in life, head for home. God is waiting to throw a party in your honor.

“When he [the prodigal son] came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! ... So, he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.”
Luke 15:17-20, NIV
The Rev. Robert E. Wareing
Pastoral Associate
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