Since I finished reading Esther Fleece’s No More Faking Fine, I’ve really been intentional about the power of lament. I used to feel guilty for whining to God, or being real here, mad at Him. Now I realize He knows anyway, and He can handle it. He wants our lamentations. So, I’ve been busy during my prayer time.
One of my laments of late has been relating to the Prodigal’s brother. In Luke 15, we read about the partying brother who demands his inheritance early, squanders it, and is at such a rock bottom place, he comes back, repentant, to his father. Instead of anger and a wagging finger of “I told you so,” the father gives him a party to celebrate his return.
Every time I’ve read that story, I’ve thought about someone else.
While partying brother is spending money and participating in all kinds of debauchery, other brother is working the fields and watching his dad’s heart break over that other son every single day. When the party is over, and a new one begins, I so get why the brother is seething.
I’ve been lamenting these three words a lot.
It’s not fair.
As if the Lord needed my run-down, I reminded Him when He asked me to obey, I did. When I was tempted to do wrong, I turned away. How come the “good” brother got the shaft, and the “wild” brother got the hero’s welcome?
My pastor encouraged me with Scripture that I overlooked time and time again. “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.'” (Luke 15:31)
It still took time and lamentation for me to receive this as I still struggled with the fairness of it all.
What I love about the Lord is He is as gracious to the angry brother as He is to the partying one. Angry brother was not pleasant or thankful when speaking to his father, and I haven’t been either. I’ve been on a giant, “Hey, God, let me remind You about this thing and that…” because to me, He apparently caught amnesia.
He gave me a moment, and a loving download that showed Luke 15:31 in action. I was at a public celebration. A video played showing highlights of the occasion, one I was at since the beginning. There were people who couldn’t emotionally connect to the celebration because they hadn’t been there at that time. I had the connection because I had been there, even when I thought for a time I needed to leave. Through prayer I realized I was not to leave, and I obeyed. The fruit of that obedience was being able to enjoy that event because I understood all the moments. Others were able to celebrate as well, but without the emotional connection.
When given the choice, I’d rather ditch a party and loud welcome and instead enjoy the fruit that comes with obedience. It’s a quieter, more subtle consequence, but I get it now. Both brothers had their father’s love, and both were easily accepted in His fold. But the prodigal’s brother received everything, he just forgot to focus on that as he watched the prodigal receive the welcome.
If that’s your struggle, identifying with the brother more than the prodigal, I pray my testimony encourages you. I also read a great article by Joni and Friends on this subject. May it bless you!