Tonight I am sitting in my living room praying. It's one of those prayers that doesn't have to do with a specific need or desire. It's deeper. It's about needing Him.
Because I know myself. I know how I fail others. I know how I can judge, and get frustrated. I know how I am not as patient as I should be. I see how selfish I can be.
Tonight I heard a pastor speak about the prodigal son. He talked about how he was always thinking that he was either one son or the other. Either he had it kind of together, and was the good son, or he was a total failure, and was the bad son.
So, tonight, I was praying specifically about that. I can relate.
Now, mind you, I know we can't earn our way to heaven. I understand it's a free gift from Jesus. But, even after all these years of being a Christian, I am still learning what it means to be loved, covered, and wanted despite my many flaws.
To make up for my flaws, there is a part of me that feels like I should be doing "something." And that "something" looks a lot like acting perfectly.
When I have a good week, I feel like am doing that "something." I feel like I am starting to get my act together and figure it out.
When I have a bad week I feel like I'm never going to "get it right" no matter how hard I try.
Tonight, as I prayed I felt like the Lord highlighted to me (and I am not saying, "thus sayeth the Lord." This is just the feeling I got) that the father in the prodigal story was equally close to both of his sons. The father was just waiting for both of his sons to turn and see how loved they were.
Because, in the story, the "good" son has moments of resentment when the "bad" son returns home. The father rushes down the street to grab the "bad" son up in a hug. The "good" son doesn't feel appreciated, and the father tells him (paraphrased) "Don't you realize all I have is yours?"
And the "bad" son returned home feeling overwhelmed with guilt and desperation, and was also completely unprepared for his father's love.
I don't get it yet, but what I felt was that God isn't expecting me to be good. He is expecting me to turn to him, and let him be my covering, because he loves me. This is why it's good news.
Sometimes good news can be unbelievable. I remember when I first found out I was pregnant, I couldn't believe it. Sometimes, rather than believe good news I worry that it will get yanked away somehow. For example, if we planned a trip I'd worry it would get rained out, or delayed.
Good news can be hard for me to accept. I'm thinking that instead of worrying if I am doing it "right or wrong" I might just try to keep my eyes on the one who says this.....Romans 8:31-37 (So amazing. I am trying to grasp this!!)
What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.