prodigal father - IV

prodigal father - IV
Photo by Kostiantyn Li / Unsplash

Read the entire series here:

prodigal father - tate
a life observed
... So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything...

He came to a place where he saw eating pig feed as desirable. In his wild living, he had filled himself with so many nasty things that he couldn't bear to empty himself of them. When he could no longer afford the expensive swill that's been doctored and disguised to look like delicacies, he was forced into a situation where he was blessed with a clearer vision. This clearer vision, bolstered by the fact that the swill was denied him, allowed him to see what he had actually made of his life.

If we're as fortunate as this prodigal son, we'll run out of money. If we're less fortunate, old age will get us. If it's not old age, an injury or terrible experience will get us. When we ignore the gentle voice of love, we'll often find that we've moved, through no effort of our own, to a place of clearer vision where faith becomes possible. The blinders are taken away, and we can clearly see our actions for what they are: harmful and disgusting–the spiritual equivalent of eating swill. And we will be disgusted by what we've become.

The only mistake at this point is to stay where we are. We might do this out of despair that says, "My life is too far gone. There's no point in trying to save it." We might stagnate out of momentum and sloth that say, "I'm too far gone! It would be too hard to save me now."

But we usually stay right where we are because of pride that says, "Through my own valiant efforts, I will save myself because I'm the only one who can." This is the most pitiable state of all.

In a 12-step recovery program, the first three steps are 1) accept reality, 2) believe that God can save us, and 3) place ourselves in the care of God to save us. It's no accident that these steps are the foundation of the most successful recovery programs in history. We have to admit that no matter what we think of ourselves, we are only capable of wandering around lost on our own, getting further and further from what's actually good for us. We become dependent upon swill to feed us, and long to be filled with it.

If we're not as fortunate as the prodigal son here, we're in severe danger of unknowingly escalating our prodigality so slowly that we become desensitized at the same rate and never realize how far astray we've gone. Fortunately, that balance of escalation vs. desensitization is so delicate that we'll usually simply wake up one morning and wonder why we're so desirous of pig swill.