Loving a Prodigal: The Circle of Life
Once a month I write a letter to the wonderful Prayer for Prodigals community I am part of. Often those letters, though specific to those who love a prodigal, apply to any or all of us in the challenging circumstances of life.
Dear Lover of Prodigals,
Life contains wonderful celebrations.
Last month I wrote to you about our happy observance of the joining together of Josh and Lesley. We rejoiced.
We also celebrated the birth of another grandchild just three days before the wedding—happy times!
Steve and I will be observing 40 years of marriage in June—and we are still very much in love.
I have been in a year-long jubilee to commemorate two major milestones in my life—50 years on staff with our ministry and 70 years of life.
So many celebrations of the circle of life—birth, marriage, anniversaries, long service, long life.
But, of course, then there is death.
I have experienced the death of too many people in recent months.
For some we celebrate a full life and graduation to heaven. Just in recent weeks several friends of mine have said good-bye to parents, with tears and grief even as they ushered them on to life with Jesus.
Other lives have been cut short by cancer, leaving devastated families to mourn and to miss, seeking comfort from a heavenly Father.
Hearts have broken as babies have died just before or just after birth, denying the promise of new life and love.
And unspeakably, two young people I have known ended their lives by their own hands. Why? Couldn’t we have helped? We didn’t know. So painful.
We love the new life, new beginnings, milestone celebrations. We want to prolong life, to stretch out that circle.
Yet we recognize the certainty, without knowing the timing, of those endings in our circling of life. We yearn for lifelines to anchor loved ones. We grasp at how to hold on to the relationships in our circles.
Surely this is true for those of us who love a prodigal. How do we preserve and protect those so dear to us?
At Josh’s wedding, Steve gave three encouragements for sustaining a loving, growing marriage. These hold true for all our relationships. See how these attitudes and actions could safeguard the people and the love in our circles:
Be unselfish. Jesus said we are to love as He loved, laying down our lives for those we love. Paul exhorted us to consider others as more important than ourselves. James adds that we should do more than say we love; we should show it be our actions.
Keep no record of wrong. How easily we remember how someone has hurt us. We can recount a list of those wrongs in a moment. Yet we are commanded to keep no record of wrongs. So when hurts and anger arise, we cannot go to the “you always” and “you never” do this or that. We have no accounting for them.
Forgive quickly. Instead of keeping a list of how a loved one has hurt us, we choose to forgive quickly. No matter what they have done—even again and again. Even if they ask for forgiveness or deserve forgiveness. Jesus was clear in His instructions: Forgive—even your enemies. Forgive-70 times 7. Forgive—as He has forgive us, as He forgave those who crucified Him.
How might these strengthen the bonds of love in your circles?
I’m asking God for His plan for our theme for the 2015 Worldwide Prodigal Prayer Day. Perhaps Hope or Faith? Any thoughts?
For our continuing circles of love and life,
c 2015 Judy Douglass
If you would be interested in requesting prayer for a prodigal loved one, or being a part of our wonderful praying community, respond in comments or write to me at PrayerforProdigals at gmaildotcom.