4 Stars Out Of 5
Understanding the Father's Heart
February 1, 2015
Age: Over 65
Come high or low, rise or fall, our Heavenly Father loves us. We may well misunderstand the love of the Father, however, and the family member that demonstrates this misunderstanding most overtly may not be the one who misunderstands it most profoundly.
In the Holy Bible, we find an example, given by our Lord, of a two family members that did not appear to understand a particular fathers love.
The pamphlet, The Parable of the Prodigal Son: Jesus Story of the Lost Son, by Rose Publishing, looks at the various aspects of this story told by Jesus in the New Testament, reminding us of the unconditional love of the father; the unappreciative response, initially, of his younger son, followed by his eventual sincere repentance; and the complete misunderstanding, on the part of a legalistic and self-righteous older brother, of what a fathers heart is all about.
In our own times, this booklet encourages the parents of prodigal children to trust the Lord to work in their childrens lives, and to do His own unique work in His own unique time in the lives of them all. It also encourages all of us to recognize that His love is vast, unmerited and free, and reaches out to all His children, including those who, for a time, go astray.
Personally, I find this a helpful booklet. I am glad that the writer gives the Jewish context in which Jesus speaks, and, as well, notes the other parables adjacent to this one in the Biblical text that emphasize a similar message. I am happy, likewise, that the Holy Bible is allowed to speak for itself, in that small, but entire passages are cited. In dire situations, we often ask What can I do? or, What should I not do? Two very practical sections of the pamphlet are Invitation to Trust, and Avoid Giving In To Anger. The booklet also includes helpful psalms, and various prayers, including a prayer for prodigals. Some comparisons are, helpfully, charted.
The booklet demonstrates a very sympathetic grasp of the dilemma of parents who have a wandering loved one, and who do not know how to deal with the angst as they await his or her return.
This story may not appear connected to the booklet, above, but, I happen to know a family in which the youngest brother took a brief foray into the world of unbelief. It was, by no means, as flagrant a journey as that of the Biblical prodigal son; the young man was, nonetheless, for a time, out-of-fellowship with Christian norms. What I observed on the part of his older siblings in his absence, was a manifest yearning for his return, and great joy when it finally happened. They had not feared that his return would diminish any of their own familial joys, because their parents loved them all as much as they loved the absent younger brother; and they realized that that same love was strong enough to weather some vicissitudes, including the possibility that the son might have to learn, perhaps, through hard experience.
The mother, in one statement, later, wrote, Thank you to all my beautiful kids who are always a blessing, never a disappointment and my greatest joy. I am so proud of all of you.
Surely, that is the heart of a true parent, whose initial response to the newborn infant was not based on merit, but on love, and, if that is so in the earthly realm, how much more in the Heavenly.
And the end of the story can be truly surprising only today, I read the obituary of a missionary who had spent a lifetime serving the Lord in a foreign field, an answer to his godly mothers prayers: in his teens, though, her faith must have been sorely tested, as, prior to his conversion, he stood before the juvenile courts.
The topic is both timely, and needed, and will undoubtedly find appreciation from many readers. Rose Publishing has provided me with an advanced reader copy.