This painting portraying of the prodigal son’s father (Luke 15:20) broke me in the best way possible. His father sprinting towards his son with all his heart and might because his love for him never allowed him to cease to long for and watch for his return.
“My son! My son! My son whom I love has returned to me!”
“And he (the prodigal son) arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him,” (Luke 15:20).
His father saw him because he was ALWAYS watching for him. Utterly beautiful and humbling for it shows us the heart of our Heavenly Father!
I’ve often heard Christians say things that imply that God has to make them suffer and make their lives extremely difficult for them to seek Him or draw them to Him, but I very humbly must say that I cannot relate to these statements (and I have suffered very greatly in my life).
It’s wasn’t the suffering, abuse, and torment I endured in the past that humbled me or that caused a deep and very real love in my heart for my Abba Father.
No, a revelation of His unconditional love, grace, forgiveness, and all He’s redeemed me from through Jesus Christ’s agonizing death and victorious resurrection is what has broken and humbled me that I never want to depart from Him. That nothing compares to Him. That there’s no life and joy outside of Him.
Humbled by God’s goodness, kept by His love. Much forgiven. Much love.
“Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little,” (Luke 7:47)
I believe with all my heart when one gets a Holy Spirit empowered revelation of the love and grace of God the Father for them that it is the most humbing gift one can receive.
It’s His love and the power of His Holy Spirit that binds me to the narrow path of that leads to life with Him (Matthew 7:13-14). That causes EVERYTHING else to pale in comparison to Him, His love, ways, goodness, and glory.
Does suffering always cause people to seek God?
Stephen Hawking, was a British scientist, fervent atheist, and professor who was well known for his work in physics and cosmology. He was wheelchair bound with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis for most of his life. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a devastating, uniformly lethal degenerative disorder of motor neurons.
Some of Hawking’s quotes:
“It is my view that the simplest explanation is there is no God. No one created the universe and no one directs our fate. This leads me to a profound realization. There is probably no heaven, and no afterlife either. We have this one life to appreciate the grand design of the universe, and for that, I am extremely grateful.” – Hawking, April 15, 2011
“What I meant by ‘we would know the mind of God’ is, we would know everything that God would know, if there were a God. Which there isn’t. I’m an atheist.” – Hawking, September 23, 2014
“I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail,” he told the Guardian. “There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.”
After many years of great physical suffering, he never chose to humble himself enough to see his own intelligence as still far, far below God’s. I hope on his deathbed, he changed his heart and mind.
Her sister’s torment drove her away from God
A very dear to me sister in Christ, recently spoke of her agony regarding her teenage daughter who recently had her breasts removed because satan has deceived her into believing she’s a man. This dear mother struggles greatly with her faith and ability to receive the love of God because of this. We’ve spent much time on the phone praying with me gently ministering to her that it was the thief who came to steal, kill, and destroy in her family’s life. Not God.
This precious mother has also mentioned many times that her daughter turned away from God from seeing her little sister struggle with severe self injurious behaviors caused by severe autism (non-verbal). Their lives were constantly in torment and chaos trying to care for her.
Overcome by the goodness of God through my mother
My little family had a major crisis a few years ago, and I was unable to work for several months – 100% without pay. I had to live on credit cards and accumulated over $10,000 in credit card debt.
After I had started a new job, I tried to apply for a debt consolidation loan and was denied because of length of time working and that I was a 1099.
All I did was tell my mother, telling her I would try again soon, from my heart, not expecting anything. She came to me a little while later and said she’d pay off the debt FOR ME and I could pay her back when I could. How just like Jesus!
This was no small thing for my mother to do (at ALL).
Her retirement savings is very small, and she worked very hard for every single penny she made. When she came to America almost 50 years ago, she knew very little English and only had about 2 years of studies from a Peruvian college.
Images of my mother working hard all her life to help my father care for us flew threw my mind. My earliest memory, me approximately age 4, watching my mother wearing a red, sweatshirt fabric jacket with a hood working in a factory directly across a very busy the street with a huge garage door open, so I could wave at her while my father held me.
Her sleeping during the day when I was a little older, so she could work at the 24 hour supermarket at night. Her moving up to retail, working on her feet all day at a department store in the mall, which she continued to do so until she retired a few years ago, often working with mean, petty agressive sales people who never emotionally developed past middle school. She didn’t like staying home, so she’s back in retail again working part time. She worked extremely hard and put up with a lot to raise us.
So when she took over $10,000 from small retirement accounts and gave it to me like it was nothing. I wept and wept and wept (and the floogates have opened again now). God is so good! I was overwhelmed by her love and God’s for blessing me with a mother who has laid her life down for me all her life and has taught me how to do so for my child. I praised and praised and praised the Lord and felt His great, great love for me through my mother.
His goodness humbled me, His love keeps me.
“The goodness of God leads you to repentance,” (Romans 2:4).
For me personally, it’s His unconditonal love and grace that keeps me from sin, makes me hate it and the destruction it only knows how to bring. How could I intentionally offend the Father who loves me so much He gave His all for me – His Son, Jesus Christ? Yes, I sometimes still do the things I don’t want to do, but with God’s help little by little, He (not me) is tranforming more into His likeness. I throw the entirety of myself onto the mercy of God, my Father.
Not that I don’t go through hard things and trials, but that’s not what humbles me. His love and faithfulness to His Word to me through it all humbles me. That His promises are yes and amen. That we receive His promises by faith alone because of His grace, not because we were “good” or perfomred well that day.
To be joyful IN all circumstances doesn’t mean be joyful about everything for the enemy is the culprit trying to try to steal, kill, and destroy. Who wants to be glad about that?
What good Father would expect us to celebrate the works of the devil coming against us? Not our Father God. No, He loves us and gave us the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God to wage against the powers of darkness that come against us for our victory.
I am joyful in every circumstance because God is Faithful and True, and He’s going to make what the devil (not God), what they devil meant for evil and turn it all around for my good and for those good of who love him.
My Good Father can turn water into wine, a boy’s lunch into enough food for thousands, and use ashes as ingredinets to make the most beautiful and delicious wedding cake I’ve ever eaten (since we are His bride thought it a fitting analogy).
I strongly believe it is religious minded thinking that ONLY bad times and things can humble us. Yes, God can use those circumstances to show us we are “slummin with the pigs” that we lift up our eyes and want for more and “return to our Father’s house” and call on the name of the Lord and be saved because nothing can fill us but Him and His love.
But for a born again Christian to only teach that “oh life has to be hard and pummeling otherwise we won’t seek after the Lord is just not true.”
Once we receive a true and deep revelation of His love for you, the things of this world lose their pull and appeal and we lose all desire for them. We know there is nothing nor any satisfaction in the things of the world. They pale in comparison by FAR to Jesus Christ and His love. His love holds onto me.
And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” Galatian 4:6
One of my most favorite passages in the Word of God…the son chose unwisely by his free will to leave his father as seek after the world, but the love of the Father…
The Parable of the Lost Son
11 Then He said: “A certain man had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood. 13 And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living. 14 But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want. 15 Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16 And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything.
17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, 19 and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.” ’
20 “And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. 23 And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; 24 for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.
25 “Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.’
28 “But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. 29 So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. 30 But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’
31 “And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours.
One of my other most favorite passges in the Word of God…
A Sinful Woman Forgiven
36 Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to eat. 37 And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, 38 and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil. 39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, “This Man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.”
40 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.”
So he said, “Teacher, say it.”
41 “There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?”
43 Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.”
And He said to him, “You have rightly judged.” 44 Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. 45 You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. 46 You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. 47 Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”
48 Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
49 And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
50 Then He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”