18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ 20 And he arose and came to his father.
Perhaps we’ve found ourselves in a place like this. We’re moving along in life, we see an opportunity to improve things, whatever they might be, or to enjoy new experiences, and we grab it and run. Soon, however, we’re at the end of that road and find it goes nowhere. We’ve run out of energy and can’t see a way to make things better other than to retrace our steps to where we started. To make matters worse, the simple fact of the retracing leads to what we know will be a huge, humiliating experience. I’m certain, if you’re like me, you’re thinking about one of them right now. At these times, we play in our mind how the conversations will go, hoping for a reaction that leads to restoration.
The younger son’s idea of restoration was to be a hired hand. The Greek word used for ‘hired servants’ is similar to someone we might see standing around Home Depot, waiting to be hired for the day. Quite a far cry from being the actual son with an inheritance. And yet, despite this imagined dire consequence, the son stands up and beings the journey home. He’s turned from ‘sowing his wild oats’ and is headed back to his father, willing to put up with any shame or humility he might face as a consequence.
The biggest hurdle with this sort of life experience isn’t the humility we face, real or imagined. It’s to rise up and turn away from where we’re at or what we’re doing. We make the decision to (re)turn. We’re not alone in these times of being at the end of our rope. Multitudes of people have been there before, and many have made the turn. But, the turn can’t be made without coming to the conclusion that it’s what needs to be done. That sounds painfully obvious, but sometimes, the obvious needs to be said.
Music is a wonderful gift we’ve been given from God to help us in and through tough times in life. As you listen to this rendition of ‘Great is Thy Faithfulness,’ take a few moments where you are and become quiet to yourself. If you recognize a turn is needed, be like the younger son and ‘rise and (re)turn.’
By Rich Obrecht