The story of the prodigal son from Luke 15:11-24 is more than just another parable. I can personally identify with this son that took advantage of his dad’s wealth and wasted it away. Not my earthly father, but my Heavenly Father. Personally, I too took advantage of the family, friends, and opportunities that I was given only through grace.
Growing up in a very sheltered, but Godly environment, I wanted to experience ‘the world’. When I had the opportunity to do so, I had to go to every college party. I had to become involved with every ungodly organization. Church became a weekly hobby where I just showed up for the attendance points and not for the worship experience. I was living among the swine. Once I realized where I really was, what was really going on, what I was involving myself in, how as a child of the King, I was living far below the standard my Daddy set, I had to ‘come to myself’ (Luke 15:17). The best part of realizing where I was and wanting to make a change, my Daddy was very welcoming of my return. He was happy to have me back! (Luke 15:22-24)
I know I am not the only person who has strayed from where and what God has called us to: royalty. (1 Peter 2:9 “for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession.”) Any time we act beneath the kings and queens we are, we are essentially acting as pigs. Imagine a King covered in mud. That’s how we look as God’s chosen people living below His standard. But even at our lowest point, God still shows us favor. Even after we have wallowed in our dirt and sins, He still shows us an outrageous love. We are so imperfect, but God has called us for a purpose. Ephesians 2:1 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. God created each of us with a specific purpose IN ADVANCE! He already knew what He wanted us to do, yet we still go out and do our own thing. Even when we are so far away from His purpose and calling, He still has an unexplainable love for us. In Romans 8:35, Paul raised the question “What can separate us from God’s love?” Like me, I’m sure you thought about some horrible thing in your past that God can’t ever love you past much less allow you to work in your purpose. You are sure certain God can’t love you past the drugs, hate, premarital sex, clubbing, abortions, drunkenness, lies, deceit, lust, gossip, and unforgiveness. But Romans 8:38-39 puts to rest anything you think God can’t love past. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Take comfort in the fact that no matter how imperfect you are or your past is, God loves you more than that!
Because He loves you so much, He has such a wonderful purpose for your life. He will even let you, with your imperfect past and scarred heart, lead others closer to Him. Need an example? Abraham was too old to have a child, Jacob was a liar, Moses had a stuttering problem, Gideon was afraid, Rahab was a prostitute, David had an affair and was a murderer, Elijah was suicidal, Jonah ran from God, Peter denied Christ, The Disciples fell asleep while praying, The Samaritan woman was divorced and shacking up, Paul persecuted Christians, AND Lazarus was dead! You can’t relate with them? I can’t tell anyone’s story but my own. If we use my record, I give God a bad reputation. But He has graciously favored me to contribute to this ministry even with my imperfect past. I’m humbled and thankful for Him still using me to give Him glory despite my past. Take comfort that even poor, pitiful Rasheda is able to give Him glory, so can you. Nothing can ever cause you to lose His love, and because of His love, He has given you a purpose and calling. He won’t change His mind either (Romans 11:29). Because our jacked up selves could not do ministry on our own, God ultimately gets the glory. Let Him.
(photo from TheResurgence.com)