Some people believe bad things happen in order to help us appreciate the good. These humans value the contrast between pain and pleasure. I don’t. Pain, suffering, annoyance and reality television all happen because somebody was or continues to be stupid. I suppose that doesn’t account for hurricanes and earthquakes, but for all that, we have those guys who think that natural disasters are brought about as God chastens humans for their sins. I don’t know if we get divine spankings, but there is Biblical precedence for such a thing, so maybe we shouldn’t blow preachers of doom and chaos off- they could be onto something. Perhaps they should just learn how to communicate it with some tact…
The son who demanded his inheritance before his father had even died basically slapped his dad in the face with his demands. In essence, he said something akin to, “I wish you were dead. All I want is your money.” I’m sure every parent with a teenager has felt this way at one point or another. I’m still apologizing to my mother and father for how wretched I was between the ages of zero and five minutes ago. Oh well. But the young man took a bunch of money and Jesus tells us that he spent it all on “wild living” (Luke 15:13 NIV). I’m curious to know what wild was back then- it’s a completely relative term. I can guarantee that my wild is outrageous to some of you and at the same time, it’s tame to others.
Anyway, the idiot discovers what so many young adults do- that living with the parents wasn’t so bad. So he runs home and plans on kissing up to his dad like many have had to when they needed forgiveness but didn’t want a lecture to accompany it. Sometimes, those are almost bad enough to make one want to leave again. But, this father didn’t do that. He got all sorts of excited and threw a party, upset the other kid and had to deal with that. We can talk about God taking us back even when we’re dumb and selfish, Rob Bell discussed the other son and how he did not want to party but I’m stuck on why the younger son had to leave in the first place. Was it that bad, or did he need some bad experiences in order to better appreciate his father?
I think the son knew how good he had it- but at the same time, I believe he felt like he had to go. The older brother claims that he worked hard for his father, who never threw him parties. That obviously applies to both children, otherwise, the conversation between the old man and his first son would have happened long before then. One can’t give one child something without taking care of the other- it’s the curse that terrorizes couples who choose to have multiple kids.
Let’s put this in context of our relationship with God. I’ve seen so many people run away from Jesus after numerous wonderful years with Him. He never changed. He didn’t start beating them. Maybe the Lord never threw any parties with those humans, but perhaps they never asked. The young man
probably never thought his dad would give him what he wanted- and I genuinely believe many of us look at God the same way- that He won’t give us what we want.
I’m completely against “name it and claim it” theology, but I ask God for stupid, vain, ridiculous and probably in one fashion or another, occasionally sinful things. I can’t say that I always expect them, but on the other hand, I won’t say that God doesn’t deliver, either. It’s interesting, because I don’t always know what to expect after expressing supplications before the Lord. I don’t think He only gives me what I need, sometimes I get what I want, too- and maybe it’s like the journey that the awful boy of Luke 15 wherein I discover at the end, that I never needed any of it at all. On the other hand, who says that all of my desires are bad?