Most likely you've heard the story of the prodigal son. You have a guy who asks his dad for his share of the estate. He takes it and goes off and spends it all, as Luke 15 tells us, on "wild living". His older brother, who bitterly speaks up later in the story, divulges that part of his younger brother's partying involved prostitutes.
We get a good look at the foolish younger son, a responsible (and farther on in the story,) angry older brother, and a loving father. Who's not mentioned in this tale is the mother. Was there a mother? Because if so, I can't imagine that she'd not receive any commentary; especially if she's anything like me.
If the prodigal son's mom was like this chick, I can imagine there would be more to this story, or else it would be altogether different.
Here's how I see it would have went down. We'll call the dad "J". (That's what I call Jason. Let's just imagine that this dad's name was Jacob or Joseph or something or other with a J.)
One night after going to bed I 'd whisper,
"J, your boy is worrying me. He got four boxes from Amazon Prime yesterday. I think he's already spent all his birthday money, but he won't do anything around here to earn money. He stayed out past curfew last night and was talking a bunch yesterday about taking a long road trip. I don't like it." He doesn't have the funds or the sense for it.
Four days later after having come into the estate, the boy would announce his leaving. After quickly floundering between a lecture and bribery I'd attempt to encourage him to stay. I'd warn him of the dangers, suggest that such a trip was selfish, and remind him of all the opportunity on the home front. Maybe out of guilt or obligation he would stay, at least for a little while.
Home is best. At his own house, he would never have to eat the pods intended for those pigs he eventually got a job feeding. He'd have better job and friend prospects and would never have met those prostitutes. Maybe with my constant interference, he'd have learned to save his money, start to take to heart all the godly wisdom I had to offer, and eventually he would have found a good girl to settle down with.
If he'd decided to leave anyway, I'd probably remind "J" of all the signs that I'd collected suggesting our boy was drifting wayward and then I'd beat myself up over all the other signs I'd missed. I'd be angry that I hadn't been able to convince him to stay home. I'd dream up all kinds of troubled scenarios about what he was doing wherever he was. I wouldn't sleep well at night. I'd pray giving God an idea on how the scenario could best be played out.
It's an honest and probable part of a prodigal son's story, had a prodigal son had a mama like me. To be fair, maybe this dad suffered nightmares,concocted rescue plans and felt miserable over all the should haves too.
Thankfully, the story we read in Luke 15 isn't centered on coercion. It isn't about how the father (or parents) might have avoided their son making poor choices which resulted in suffering, also making for the juiciest gossip back home had anyone gotten ahold of the information.
The story is about a child who was allowed room to hunger, to really hunger, as painful as the process was. It's about someone who came to his senses, only after he had spent everything and he began to be in need; something he might never have truly understood had mama anything to say about it. He went home, only he went home different, repentant...knowing his need.
We're a prodigal people. We know God as Father and yet choose to go our own way, believing we know best, or else not caring because pleasure calls. We squander His riches. He waits for our return, faithfully loving us from the distance we chose to put between.
Waiting fathers, fix-it mamas and all us wayward children...we seldom choose an empty stomach or a broken heart. Still...
We never know the value of our filling like we do when we've been allowed to hunger.
Thank you God for pig pods and and poverty that lead us back home.