Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sunday Devotions - The Comfort of Family

Luke 15:11-32

The Parable of the Lost Son
Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.“Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.  After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need.  So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs.  He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!  I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.  I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’  So he got up and went to his father.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’  “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.  Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing.  So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on.  ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’
 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’

 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.  But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”

Recently I was able to spend a few days with my family from Indiana; mom, dad, brothers, sister, brother in law. It has been about 4 months since I had seen any of them, a relatively short time! We were all camping together for a few days, in cabins in the rain, which means we spent a LOT of time together. I realized that when I spend that much time with anyone my quirks and weirdness are bound to come out. As well as everyone else's. At least I was with my family who accepts me as I am, though they surely roll their eyes at me sometimes, and love me despite my oddities. Thank goodness for family!

It's a great comfort to know that no matter what mistakes I make in life or how quirky I am I have family who will always be there for me. I know I can go to any of my brothers or sisters for help or comfort if I ever need it.

However not all family relationships are like this. Sometimes there is someone who, for whatever reason, is estranged from their family. Maybe it's an age old argument or some misunderstanding that caused a rift in the relationship that seems beyond repair. I know there are such cases in my own family. I hope one day though that those relationships can be repaired and just like the prodigal son my family members can come together again somehow, someway. Realistically though I have to remember that may not happen.

Although my own family members, to me, seem rock solid people who I can always count on I must remember my family is only human. They aren't perfect. Their might be a time in the future that I can't rely on them for comfort or to accept some future mistake I may make.

But I can rely on God. No matter what happens in my family, arguments, misunderstandings or estrangement I know that God is ALWAYS backing me up. He's ALWAYS there to hold me. He's ALWAYS going to love me. He's ALWAYS going to be there to talk to. ALWAYS. God is just like the prodigal son's father. When the wayward son returned, his father didn't scold but accepted him home wholeheartedly. Thank goodness!!

Dear Heavenly FATHER!
Thank You for allowing me into Your Grace despite my sins and mistakes. Thank You for my earthly family that comforts me but I remember that You are the only constant place for comfort. Bless every one of my family members that they also come to You for comfort. Amen! 

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