Allowing Like God

Allowing Like God

One of the most famous Biblical stories is that of the “prodigal son” found in Luke 15.  Many people have heard the story or some variation of it.  There was a man with two sons, the younger son asks the father to receive his inheritance early.  The father agrees and then the younger son takes his inheritance goes to another land and squanders his money on a reckless life.  The son looses it all, a famine hits, and he gets a job feeding pigs.  One day while he is feeding the pigs, he looks at their slop and is so hungry he wishes he could eat it.  At that time he remembers that those who work for his father eat and live better than he does.  So, he decides to go home and beg his father to let him be one of his servants.  As he approaches his father’s home, his father sees him, runs and embraces him, and throws a huge party to celebrate that his son has come home.  There is more to the story because the older brother gets pretty mad, but let’s focus on the father and the younger son for now.  Here is what I have really been struggling with.

“And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them.”. Luke 15:12

So why did the father say yes?  Surely he could see this was not going anywhere good, it was not normal, and everyone would be impacted by it.  It is clear in this story that the father figure represents God and what has really been challenging to me is this portion of God’s response.  I know I really struggle allowing like God.  The father says yes to his son, knowing full well this was odd and probably not going to go well. He allows his son the opportunity to fail and grow.  

As a father of young children this is extremely applicable.  Do I allow my children to fail, learn, grow, and sometimes succeed?  It takes more work, you might lose time, you might worry, you might lose some money along the way.  I have learned, that I typically learn and grow more by seeing my mistakes or the mistakes of others.  There is much truth that we all know, but until we have experiences it is all just information, and most of the time it takes at least a few mistakes until we are able to transfer that information to real life decisions.  It is like a graduating college student ready to take on the word, they have learned tons, but will have to learn exponentially more through experience to figure out what to do with that information.  This is what God allows, He allows us to fail and succeed as we battle through life getting to know him and his ways better.

Now, here is the really hard part.  Kids, that is any easy connection, it is the analogy given in the story.  What about others?  I have always struggled in ministry to let things and people go, to allow like God.  I have numerous times robbed friends of important learning opportunities by not allowing, whether it is fixing something at the last minute, giving input that was not requested, or whatever.  Also, I have personally struggled with not allowing or letting go when others make decisions or choices that I do not agree with.  When I should say, here you go and look out over the ridge for an opportunity to love, receive, and guide, instead, I take the opposite approach of God and say, fine have it your way.

As I consider all of this I think it is wrapped up in having self-sufficiency instead of God-sufficiency.  Why is it hard for me to allow?  I have to then lose some control, which I don’t have anyway, and trust another.  Why is it important to allow, because it makes me give up control, it humbles, it builds trust, and it helps me to truly love.

Do I love others enough to allow and give them opportunities to grow?  Do I develop a loving heart by looking to graciously accept or do I look with a judging heart that takes some twisted joy in others failures?  Do I let go of some control and allow myself to potentially be inconvenienced and learn to place my sufficiency in God and be humbled?  Do I allow others and learn to increase both my trust in others and in God?  What will I allow, will I allow like God?

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