Mothers for Prodigals

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Part 1

She climbs up in my lap, buries her head in my arm, and intensely sighs with satisfaction. Was she seeking protection, comfort, rest, security, or love? I can only guess why my little dog needed to be nearby, but she exhaled contentment.

Are you seeking rest? Can you envision yourself curled up in Daddy God’s lap finding refreshment and relief? Picture yourself enjoying comfort and gaining strength in His arms as He reassures you of His love and care. He desires to give you rest.

Rest has several definitions in the Macmillan Dictionary. One is freedom from exertion, distress, and disturbance; quiet; ease: a day of rest (sounds like Sunday afternoons when I was growing up). Another is something that serves as a support (sounds like Jesus). 

These two definitions resemble my idea of paradise. Wouldn’t it be great to experience that rest? Actually heaven can be brought to earth through our prayers; in fact, Jesus taught us how to pray for heaven’s will to invade earth in the Lord’s Prayer. And rest is God’s will for us, right? Let’s go after it.

Jesus says in Matthew 11:28-30: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (NKJV)

The Biblical footnote reveals that the Jews were suffering under the weight of religious responsibilities laid on them by priests, rabbis, scribes, and Pharisees. Jesus wanted to give them rest.

Jesus wants to give us rest. We may not have Pharisees laying burdens on us, but we have our own burdens to bear inflicted upon us by others or even ourselves. And labor - those of us who were fortunate to bear children labored hard to give them birth. Such hard work and yet a blessing! Then the daily labor or worrying began. 

How many times have you worried over your children instead of entrusting them to God’s care? No rest there, right? Now physically we must raise them up, but we can allow Jesus to lighten our burden by daily (maybe even minute by minute) lifting our children up to our Heavenly Father’s care through prayer, trusting in His promises for them.

I don’t know about your children but sometimes I couldn’t make my kids do anything without a battle. Now granted some battles are necessary like holding hands to cross the street. Some battles were self-inflicted and I labored hard to get my point across, leaving God out of the process. Then as they grew I felt I had lost some battles. But I tried my best, praying for them and with them.

Scripture tells us in Proverbs 22:6 to train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. In that verse I see an “in-between” stage and I think of our prodigals. Will they come back to us? Just like the prodigal in Luke 15:11-32, they see life as better somewhere else and they make a choice (remember God allows us to make our own choices; He doesn’t fight us, He simply offers). Can all our wrestling stop them? 

When the younger son asked for his portion of the inheritance, his father didn’t fight with his son. He gave to his son what he asked for. Several days later the son chose to leave and waste all that his father had given him. What did the father do while his son was gone? Scripture doesn’t say but I think he prayed while he waited, plus he had to go on living for his other son. 

But when the younger son “came to his senses” and returned home, the father accepted his return without reservation. I believe Jesus tells us throughout His Word what to do during those difficult seasons of our lives. Pray and REST! We must go about our days fully trusting God to work out our situations. If we are bent over with worry, we are no good to anyone, including ourselves. 


For thus says the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel: “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” Isaiah 30:15 (NKJV)

You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Isaiah 26:3 (NKJV)

Part 2

The prophet Elijah was a busy man, laboring hard for the Lord. Read about him in 1 Kings 17-19. When Jezebel threatened his life, Elijah suddenly got fearful, tired, depressed, and ran away to die. Out in the wilderness, he discovered a broom tree and found rest. 

What is a broom tree? Information about plants from a bible dictionary and a biblical website teaches us that “the long roots of the broom tree enable it to reach ground water even in the driest months. Unlike many other shrubs of dry habitats, it remains green throughout the year. Because of its beauty and ability to survive under difficult conditions, rotem, as the white broom is called in Hebrew, is used as a girl's name in Israel.” Wow, MPs, we need to rest under a broom tree!

While Elijah slept under that broom tree, an angel touched him, fed him and prepared him for a forty day and night journey to the mountain of God. Once on the mountain in a cave, Elijah encountered God; not in the wind or an earthquake or fire, but in a still small voice. Can we encounter God in our worry or distress or fighting? No. We find Him in rest, if we rest in Him.

Are you traveling in the wilderness of life for various reasons? Are you laboring over a prodigal child? If you are, KNOW that God journeys with you. 

I confirm from experience that He comes alongside you. It is a most bittersweet time: BITTER because love for your child may cause pain, but SWEET because love from Daddy God is adequate and abundant. 

Do you believe what scripture states in Ephesians 3:20? It reads: “He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us?” Then rest in His Word. Crawl up into His arms (on your most comfortable chair) and hear Him whispering in your ear (as you read His words).

Be still and rest in the Lord; wait for Him and patiently lean yourself upon Him; fret not yourself because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked devices to pass. Psalm 37:7 (Amplified Bible)

I have set the LORD always before me; because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; my flesh also will rest in hope. Psalm 16:8-9 (NKJV)

This is what the LORD says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. Jeremiah 6:16 (NIV)

So I said, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest.
Psalm 55:6 (NIV)

The above verse reminds me of a poem that I wrote in 2007 during a weekend at Lake Junaluska near Ashville, North Carolina. I woke up early and walked down to an outside seating arena where a cross overlooks the lake. With the mountains in the background, it is a breathtaking view. 

I was in the throes of distress, worrying over a prodigal daughter and mourning the loss of my dad. I looked up at the cross, cried out to God, and suddenly a bird landed and rested on the vertical bar of the cross. Was God speaking to me? He poured into me these words and now I share them with you.

Resting on the Arm of the Lord

There stands a big white cross overlooking a beautiful lake.
It reminds me of Jesus the Savior who died for everyone’s sake.
Guardian of God’s creation, it eases many an ache.
Like the bird who sits upon it, I’m resting on the arm of the Lord.

Images of personal hurt appear visible to my mind’s eye,
As the sun rises over the lake, reflecting earth and sky.
The cross offers assurance that my Father dwells on high.
Like the bird who sits upon it, I’m resting on the arm of the Lord.

We’re told there will be trials throughout the journey of life.
Daily we need to meet with our Lord in order to contend with strife.
He shows Himself to be faithful, as a gallant husband to his wife.
Like the bird who sits upon the cross, I’m resting on the arm of the Lord. 

DDC 8/07

Are you refreshed yet? Remember the broom tree? Are your roots strong and long enough to reach water so that you can quench your thirst from the dry season? Take time to sit under it, rest, and plant God’s Word in your heart, believing His words will bear fruit in your life and the lives of your children. Then, like my little dog in my lap, breathe a sigh of contentment in the arms of a loving Savior.

T - tired
H - hopeless
I – indifferent
R – reckless
S – suffering
T – troubled
Y – yearning for more?

S – Savior
A - Advocate
T – Teacher
I – Immanuel
S – Shepherd
F – Father
Y – Yahweh/Jehovah (I AM who I AM)!

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