11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.
13 “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. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
17 “When he 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! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 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.
21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate. (Luke 15:11-24)
Perhaps most of us are familiar with the story of the prodigal son. Some may even consider this passage as their favorite because the story of the prodigal son is something that we can easily relate to. Like the younger son, we are prone to wander somewhere and squander our Father’s wealth in wild living. And of course, how could we not love God who, like the father, is willing to wait for us to come back to our senses and welcome us when we return, despite of what we have done?
I used to love this passage as well and lately, God has been reminding me about the story of the prodigal son. But this time, instead of the younger son, I can identify myself more with the older son.
25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on.27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’
28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’
31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’” (Luke 11:25-31)
Just like the older son, I have been with God ever since I came to know Him. I’ve been slaving for Him and trying not to disobey His orders. But then recently, my heart is starting to argue with God about how come I cannot enjoy my life so much and celebrate it with my friends, so now I’m on the verge of refusing to join the celebration for the return of my lost brothers and sisters? I am at a point of my faith life where I’m starting to question God’s promise on my personal ministry that better things are yet to come. And honestly, even praying is a struggle for me these days because I’m not even sure God will give me positive answer.
“‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.
This answer of the Father to the older son’s argument also seems open-ended and vague to me. Just like the older son, I really don’t know how to respond to this.
Will you please pray for me again?