Lent Day 33: Waking Up to God’s Love
If I had said, “I will speak thus,” I would have betrayed the generation of your children.16 But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, 17 until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end.
“But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father's hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger!
As we journey through this life, we have moments when the light bulb comes on and lets us know there is a better way to live and leave the lesser things behind. However, it usually happens after a few bad choices, and hard knocks.
We finally wake up to the reality there has to be a better way to live. This was true of the prodigal son. He thought he had life all figured out and wanted to prove it by demanding this inheritance. The gracious father gave it to him, knowing that it would not help, but hurt him. But some things we have to learn the hard way.
It was after he had nothing left, of a material nature, that he realized he had everything he needed when he was at home, and money could not buy it. The love of a father, the security and safety of a caring community, even an older brother was beyond the price of anything he sought in the world. But it was “after” he had gone through the rough roads, that he was able to see clearly.
Brueggemann describes it this way. “But of course, the son does not just come “to himself.” He comes to “himself” in his true identity. He comes to himself as a beloved son of the father.”
It was not until he entered the sanctuary of the secure place of his father’s love that he realized that was all he ever wanted, regardless of what happened to him or what he received. Having his father’s love was the cup and inheritance that he needed.
The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. 6The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
Like the prodigal son, when we lay aside the false self, we are able to enter into our new identity in Christ and live freely in the river of love that can only be found in Christ.
Today we are invited to shed the false self, so we can live authentically to our true self. To leave behind “self-protection, possessiveness, manipulation, self-promotion, and a need to distinguish ourselves from others.” Peter Scazzero invites us to experience this new freedom. “God invites us to remove the false layers we wear so that the “seeds of true self” he has planted inside of us can emerge … As we open ourselves to the Holy Spirit, we discover God does in us what we cannot do for ourselves.”
“Bring us to our senses. O God. Turn our hearts away from the path of death and toward life, toward you, our true home, that we may ever live with joy in your presence as your people in the world. Amen” Brueggemann
Scazzero, Peter. Emotionally Healthy Discipleship: Moving from Shallow Christianity to Deep Transformation. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2021.
Brueggemann, Walter. A Way Other Than Our Own: Devotions for Lent. Kentucky: Westminster John Know Press, 2017.