This journey of loving a prodigal is full of some really bad things:
- See things we never wanted to see.
- Learn about things we didn’t want to learn about.
- Know things we otherwise would never have known existed.
- Hear things we never wanted to hear.
- Recognize the smell of things we don’t want to smell.
- Witness things we wouldn’t watch on television.
But even through these horrible things, God promised to work all things for our good, because we love Him and “are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). What the enemy means for evil, the Lord turns it around for our good:
- When our FAITH takes a hit, it may go back a step at first, but it always comes back stronger that it was before the hit. The enemy meant it for evil, because he will use our prodigals to shoot a fiery dart at our faith, but the Lord brings good. And, if the Lord can build our faith when it takes a hit meant to take it out, we know He can and will do the same for our prodigals, no matter where their faith falls on the spectrum.
- This journey brings us to places where we have no choice but to relinquish control to the Lord, because we find we cannot—in any measure—control anything going on in the lives of our prodigals, so we learn to TRUST that He constantly remains with them, that He is all-powerful and all-wise, and if He can protect us and rescue us from sin, we can TRUST Him to protect them and rescue them from sin. Each time we see His faithfulness to answer prayer, we learn to TRUST a little bit more or a lot more.
- When battles are easy, strategies are not as important; but when battles are hard, not only do we learn to trust our mighty Warrior God, but we learn to fearlessly FIGHT. And, we win battles and wars on our knees and through other mighty-through-God weapons. He gives us prayer strategies, anointed words of life to speak at the exact moment their hearts are prepared to hear them, verses to keep us encouraged and faith-filled promises to pray through, and armor to protect us.
- God gives us KNOWLEDGE. The Word of God comes alive while we are in this battle for the salvation of our prodigals. Words that we’ve read numerous times in passing, sometimes to check that chapter off the schedule, and sometimes while listening to our pastors, now cause us to stop and hear the voice of the Lord speaking to us; giving us promises; reminding us of who He is; reminding us of what He has done in the past and can and will do again, because He respects no person above another. We learn things about God to which we otherwise would not have paid attention.
- We become more aware that we are so very LOVEd. He does the best for us because He LOVEs us. He stays close because He LOVEs us. He has a plan because He LOVEs us. He is aware of us because He LOVEs us. We have favor because He LOVEs us. And because He LOVEs our prodigals, He gave them to us, knowing we would pray and fight for them. He is LOVE.
None of us would have chosen this path for our prodigals or for ourselves, but we can be thankful to our faithful God for not allowing the intense pain and struggle to be for nothing, to be fruitless, to be for our demise, to destroy us. Nor does He leave us in the pain. Instead, we are changed for the better, and peace and rest come to us in more and more abundance as we reap the rewards of God’s working all things—even horrible things—for our good. Praise the name of the Lord!