Loving a Prodigal: Banishing Fear
This is the third post in a weekly series of mini-devotionals on LOVE, which is the theme of the 2014 June 2 Worldwide Day of Prayer for Prodigals. This letter goes to the members of the Prayer for Prodigals community, but it is true for all of us.
Dear Lover of Prodigals,
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear… (1 John 4:18)
The fear can be overwhelming, can’t it!
The call from the jail, the hospital.
Accident—harming self or others.
Doing something crazy while high.
Visit from the police.
Harm to your other children.
Living without God.
Not knowing where they are or what they are doing.
Fear for your own life.
That’s quite a list. All are quite possible, whether your prodigal is your teen child or adult child, a spouse, a sibling, a parent, a friend…Fear can be pervasive when you love a prodigal.
I know it has been for me. Friday nights were always the worst in the worst days of his prodigalness—he and his friends felt it was their right to have a wild Friday night.
And even today, when he is seeking to make good choices, to choose a better life, the fear lingers and lurks: Will the past return to haunt him? Will one more hard life event trip him up again?
So how do we not live in fear? We live in love—God’s love for us and for our prodigals.
Perfect love casts out fear. And only our Lord has perfect love. He is perfect love.
Other things we know are true: He is God—sovereign, almighty, omnipotent, the most high God. He is good—He does all things well, He is always looking for ways to do good to us, He invites us to “taste and see that the Lord is good.”
Yes, He is love. He doesn’t just love. He is love itself. And all the realities of His love—for you and me, and for our loved ones—that we considered in the past two weeks apply here.
But bad things still happen. Wrong choices lead to painful consequences—some that last a lifetime. People get hurt. Injury. Prison. And unexpected child. Death.
So where is God’s love in all those things?
We have no way of knowing all the ways God—because of His great love--has intervened, protected, rescued. We don’t know what we don’t know.
But we do know that He allows us—and our prodigals—to make choices, to follow our own paths, to pursue our own desires. And sometimes those choices, paths and desires have extreme consequences.
When I can’t understand what is happening, when it seems there is no good in sight, when surely someone did snatch our loved from His hands, I can’t rely on what I see or what it seems God is doing or allowing.
I must go back to who He is: He is God. He is good. He is love. I must lean into to that love, believe that His love can bring good from the worst situation and that He is able to rescue and redeem the most degenerate.
That love will cover me with grace and flood me with peace. And that love can banish my fears. And yours!
May this week be a week of living in love, not fear.
In His Love,
What about you? What fear captures your heart?
If you would like more information, to request prayer for a prodigal, or to join our full-of-grace community, please write to prayerforprodigalsatgmaildotcom with your questions or names, or for an invitation.