| 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.Luke 15: 11-20
Did you ever hear the expression: “There is no such thing as unanswered prayer. There is only yes, no, and not yet.”? I guess that’s true. The no’s and the not yet’s sure are disappointing…and frustrating!! I’ve had my share.
“Lord, please give me a husband.”
“Lord, please give me a baby.”
“Lord, please give me that job.”
Some of those were not yet’s, and one was a flat out no! But many years later, when I look back, I wasn’t ready for a lot of that stuff. Not spiritually, physically, emotionally, or intellectually. I look at those no’s now, as God’s protection over my life, and even over the other lives that could have been damaged severely , had I gotten what I wanted way too soon. (But trust me. I still do some damage to my husband and kids! It just isn’t as bad as it could be.)
I’m not sure why the father gave his son the inheritance he clearly wasn’t ready for. But he gave it anyway. And after losing EVERYTHING, his son returned to him, wiser and humbler, and a ton more thankful! He knew he wasn’t ready for more than what the father would give him from now on.
But there is something else in those verses I want to show you. At the beginning, the words the son uses to the father are, “Father, GIVE me.”
But the words at the end are these. “Father, MAKE me.”
Wow. Isn’t that us?
“Father, give me this spouse.”
“Father, give me this car/house/etc.”
“Father make me honest, responsible, and full of integrity.”
“Father make me patient, gentle, loving, and respectful of others.”
“Father make me disciplined and full of wisdom.”
FATHER, MAKE ME READY FOR THE THINGS YOU PLAN TO GIVE ME.
I’ll be honest. My prayers are so often of the “give me” kind. And now, I’m so glad for all of those no’s He so lovingly gave me. But I’m challenged today to change my language when I pray. I WANT Him to make me holy, faithful, loving, patient, gentle, and meek, and so that will be my focus when I pray.
Even when praying for others, this should still be our focus. We probably shouldn’t be asking God to get people out of tough or painful situations, but maybe we should be praying that God would MAKE them more like Him in all the ways I just mentioned, if He deems the trial is necessary.
The prodigal son asked to be GIVEN something in his immaturity. But when he grew up a little, he asked to BE something.
I will, too.