Sunday, January 23, 2011

Two Sons--the Same only Different

I recently heard a speaker say that the prodigal son found everything he had been looking for when he returned to his Father's house. I had to ponder that a bit.

Seems to me that the runaway son was looking for love, a sense of significance and, dare I say, fun? He exhausted himself and his resources without finding lasting satisfaction. Until he returned to his Father's house, that is.

The older brother never left, but seemed to have the same hunger. He was existing right in the middle of all that he craved, but he was living like he still needed to earn it. It was his Father's desire for him to know he was loved and significant. His Father longed to for him to enjoy their relationship, to live in joyful celebration.

Many live like one or the other of these boys. Some are in constant pursuit of pleasure and significance from the stuff of this world. It's an insatiable hunger that never gets satisfied. Others sit in their Father's house never knowing that all He has is already theirs--they don't need to earn it. They are hollow-eyed with hunger as they sit in the presence of plenty

It's when you know that you are the beloved, treasured child of your Father that you find significance and contentment. We need to stayed tucked in close to Him to keep that awareness fresh in our minds...otherwise, we seem to wander and begin to search for it elsewhere. When we really know it we're not so quite so devastated when others don't recognized how lovable and significant we are. When we really know it life becomes fun.

Look into His face and you will see that you are loved--no matter what you may have done or not done. You can't earn it, and you can't lose it.

The Lord your God is with you;
His power gives you victory.
The Lord will take delight in you,
and in his love he will give you new life.
He will sing and be joyful over you...
(Zephaniah 3:17)

You can find the whole story of the two sons in Luke 15:11-31.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The End of the Story

We're definitely fans of Narnia around here. Starting with the now-tattered copies of the books I received for my birthday in 1977, to the unabridged Radio Theater version my kids have practically memorized, to debates over the merits of the recently-released movie versions...we know Narnia.

When The Voyage of the Dawn Treader came to theaters and a friend gave us two-for-one coupons we decided to take the kids to see it--an unprecedented treat! However, the decision wasn't made without some hesitation. We knew there would be some fairly intense scenes. My son scoffs at my concern that he could possibly be frightened, but we've sat up many a night with one of the girls after watching a movie that was a bit too much for her. She insisted she would be fine.

Sure enough, she was. Through all the excitement and drama, we sat with wide-eyed enjoyment until the final climatic struggle with the sea serpent. My little one buried her face in my shoulder a few times, but never for long. She would inevitably be drawn back by her longing to see this huge enemy defeated. After the movie, I expressed my surprise that she was able to watch all of that action.

"It was okay, Mom. I was a little bit afraid, but I knew the end of the story," she declared with enthusiasm.

I know the end of the story.

Sometimes I get afraid. And weary. Sometimes it seems like that serpent is beating me down. Or taking out people I care about. It'd be easy to give into discouragement, despair, or even outright panic! But I know the end of the story. I need to remind myself of what is going to happen.

"Don't be afraid! I am the First and the Last. I am the living one.
I died, but look--I am alive forever and ever!
And I hold the keys of death and the grave.
It has come at last--salvation and power and the Kingdom of our God...
The accuser of our brothers and sisters has been thrown down...
they have defeated him...

Look, God's home is now among his people!
He will wipe every tear from their eyes,
and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain.

All these things are gone forever.
Look, I am making everything new!
There will no longer be a curse upon anything.
Let anyone who is thirsty come.
Come, Lord Jesus!"

Reading these words strengthens me and I'm ready to reenter the fray with a shout of victory!!

Today we hang a new calendar. Twelve pages of the unknown. But I'm not afraid--I know the end of the story!