I heard a prayer request on the way home from school yesterday. A mother tearfully asked for prayer that her family find their 2 missing dogs. The radio host asked God to bring the dogs home, and she praised the mother for taking all requests to God.
Well, guess what happened when we got home? Our dog Legolas (named after an Elf in the Lord of the Rings trilogy) ran out the front door and could not be found. As I walked down the street, I prayed that we would find Legolas (or Lego, as we call him). Sound familiar?
Watch the video to see what happened next: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fOE7blu4AL0.
As an educator, I instinctively see “teachable moments,” and this was one of those moments. We have them each day. When our children misbehave, we have the opportunity to teach. When things in the media do not reflect what we believe and practice at home, we have the opportunity to teach. We must seize those moments.
The story of the Prodigal Son is a story that Jesus told about a father and his sons. The youngest boy told his father to give him his part of the inheritance and he did. Unfortunately, the son went away and wasted all of his money. He soon found himself hungry and working with pigs (quite a demeaning position, especially for a Jewish person).
Eventually, the son decided to go home, realizing that his father had no obligation to accept him. The son planned his speech and practiced what he would say. It might sound something like this: “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants,” (Luke 15:18-19, ESV).
Something surprising happened, though. When the son was still pretty far from home, his father spotted him, ran to his son, gave him a big hug, and kissed him. The son then said his planned speech, and this is how his father responded, “’Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate,” (Luke 15:22-24, ESV).
So, Lego was lost and we searched for him. When he was found, we celebrated. In the same way, this is how God (represented by the father in the story) reacts when His children return to Him.
When we make bad choices and run away from God and then decide to go back home, God throws a party for us. We belong with God, just as the son belonged with the father. We are part of God’s family, even when we make bad choices. And, God is always watching and waiting for us to come home.