MOBILE COUNTY, Ala. (WKRG) — This past year has been marked by setbacks and comebacks. We’re talking about the parable of the prodigal son with Justin Driver of Forward Church–What in the story do you focus on?
Guest: Let’s look at the main character—the prodigal son. Specifically the people he’s around and the places he’s at in this story. Jesus often used parables when He taught and this parable always had a deeper spiritual meaning. In this case, the prodigal son found himself away from the Father’s house and all that entails. He was outside of the provision of the father’s house because the story says that after he lived it up with the people of this foreign place he journeyed to he found himself in want. This tells me that the same people and place that the son thought was celebrating with him, once his possessions and resources ran dry, he found out that really he was just being tolerated because of what he had to offer. We all find ourselves in places like this sometimes in our lives—around people and in places where we think we are being celebrated just because of who we are, but when our resources run dry and we are in need those same people and places only leave us lacking and in want. This was the major setback for this son in the story.
Anchor: Are the prodigal son’s setbacks all self-made?
Guest: There were things that were in his control but there were also uncontrollable circumstances as well. The conscious decision to leave his father and live the prodigal lifestyle was totally his choice. But he had no idea that there was a famine about to hit. That was completely out of his control. All of these things added to the setbacks that he experienced. These setbacks found this son in a pigpen, longing to eat the pods that the pigs were eating.
Anchor: What can learn from the comeback in this story?
Guest: First of all the prodigal remembered his father. Even while he was around people and in a place where he shouldn’t be, he remembered from where and from who his provision came from—his father in the father’s house. Next, we see that he returned to the father. He made that conscious decision to go back to the place and the people who celebrated him and not just tolerated him. The awesome thing about this was that the son didn’t even make it all the way back when the Father came running to him. That’s the love and compassion of our Heavenly Father.
Anchor: This isn’t a story about a comeback on merit, it’s one of throwing your fate to God, what can we learn from that?
Guest: That’s such a great point and it’s so true. Because what we see is that one of the last things that the prodigal does is repent to the father. But he doesn’t even get all of his pre-rehearsed repentance out when the father jumps in and restores all that was lost. We may feel like this prodigal sometimes when we make mistakes or experience setbacks. But I would like to remind everyone that God is ready to restore you. Not because we are deserving of such, but because He loves us that much and desires good for his sons and daughters.