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I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. -Psalm 119:11
the prodigal son returnsRead Now
By Debbie Ramamoorthy (WITHIN Devotional Contributor)
I recently celebrated my birthday and went on a weekend trip to a nearby town in Ecuador. The town is surrounded by mountains and gorges and has a beautiful majestic volcano that borders one side of the town. To start the new year off waking up and looking at the mountains felt appropriate for someone who yearns for moments of reflecting and fresh starts.
As I started my reflection time, I thought about the story of the Prodigal Son found in Luke 15--a story of how God never tires of us coming to Him, regardless of situations, circumstances, and seasons of disconnect. The reason I started to process this story is because each year I try to write letters of gratitude to the people I love or who have played an instrumental part in the year that has passed. I write the number of letters that matches up to the year I am turning. So, this year I wrote out 31 letters of gratitude. As I wrote my letters, I thought about my own earthly father who has loved me so deeply my entire life that sometimes I couldn’t imagine our God loving me more. But the more I thought about my father’s love towards me, I couldn’t help but think about God’s overwhelming love towards us as His children.
This took me to the story of the prodigal son and how there was no depth or height of disconnect that this son could create that would not allow him to return back to his father and be welcomed back with joy and met with a huge celebration. The son did not come back and have to quietly reintegrate back into his family. The father did not ashamedly take him back in or make him enter silently through the back door. Rather, he rejoiced in his homecoming and wanted everyone to celebrate in it as well! The father was so quick to find the joy in his son’s return rather than be consumed by the hurt that his son had caused him- which I’m sure was much and painful!
This depth of love can only be from the Lord. The love of our God towards us is always a sacrificial and selfless love that is never conditional on our behavior and position. He is always near us, loving us and seeking us. Even when we are in seasons where we feel disconnected from Him, He is still loving us in the purest form. Much like the response the father had in the story of the prodigal son, God responds the same when we come back to Him because we’ve recognized the pit and utter darkness that we’ve found ourselves in. And we are received with His open arms full of grace and mercy and joy, reminding us that He delights in His children’s return.
Not only does this kind of love come from God but He also empowers us to love like that. He is the only One who is able to give us a spirit that is quick to forgive, quick to selflessly love and accept and be slow to anger. It made me think about how much we need to depend on Him to love one another sacrificially and selflessly. God desires that we depend on Him even with the most basic expectations put on us--even how we sometimes think that it must be easy to love our children or spouses or our friends, but in reality, we need Him for that!
My encouragement to you this week is to reflect back on the areas of your life and see where God is asking you to depend on Him. Then, look at the areas that are challenging and see how God can intercede and sustain you. It’s in and through those moments that we are able to see our constant and consistent need for Him- in all the big and even ordinary ways!
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------The weekly devotionals seek to encourage you to dig deeper into Scripture as you take the time to daily read, meditate, and internalize the verses in the devotional, along with the passages provided below to give greater context. Take the time to read them throughout the week (repetition is important) and ask the Holy Spirit to help you grasp what God is showing you about Himself, about you, and how to live in light of these truths.
Passages to read/memorize/meditate:
Questions to Reflect on:
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