Prodigal

Last night I had a drink with a friend, and he told me about his transformed life. He didn’t call it that, but there it is, and here he is, the prodigal son returned, the lost sheep brought home to the fold, the newly fitted vessel overflowing. He talked to me as if I know all these things he is learning, as if I have some wisdom, or bear some God-breathed peace.

I used to think I had these things, and now that I see how little of them I really have, it stings to be with people who think I do. I fumbled for words, but I haven’t many of them these days either. So mostly I listened, and it was a good thing, to hear about the new life being forged in his flesh.

We talked about theology, and agreed we are neither of us as smart as we used to believe. We’ve learned there is a knowing beneath the mind’s knowing. He is a man of action, and now he is hurling himself into the life borne of belief. I think this is what I envy, the seamless transition from epiphany to action, which is something that so readily escapes me, or I it.

I am instead a man of hesitancy and rumination and selfishness, still working out how love is an other-focused thing, and can only ever be, still working out my salvation with fear and trembling, still paused at the Cross, lead-footed and heavy-hearted, unsure whether to climb up on it or fall down before it or drive in the nails.

Comments

  1. karen

    Have not posted a comment in months here, but this one gave me pause to ponder….I suspect you do know Whom it is you have believed, and sometimes falling and worshipping the True God who saves is all one can do. What’s more, your friend with whom you had a drink, also knows that you know whom it is you have believed. I’ve said before your writing is an act of worship. you must keep scrawling, tapping, whatever word you ascribe to the process of doing the writing. Hold fast and Go well Tony.

  2. Ken

    That last sentence is God-breathed.

    Faith is always fragile, always something we have to fight to hold on to. Believers don’t have to be articulate, aren’t measured by the times they had exactly the right words to say. Faith is believing the Holy Spirit is speaking even when we can’t.

    Keep fighting the good fight.

  3. Lore

    If there is one thing I am learning that I will always be learning it is summed up in your last paragraph. Love that. Thank you for frank honesty.

  4. Beth Impson

    Writing is an act itself, and an act of loving service as you share with the rest of us bumbling believers your own struggles and longings. And you could not share these if you were not in the midst of trying to live them out in your family and church and community. Thank God for writers like you.

  5. Lorne Wilson

    When the still small voice tells you to do something, you do it. When it calls me to act, I know it and I act. Clearly, when yours calls you to write, you do it. And for many, you touch our souls in a way that can only happen with his help. I thank God for you Tony.

    lorne

  6. I Live in an Antbed

    Powerful! There is so much fruit borne in self-examination when prompted to do so by His Spirit. Looks like you are being prepared to take a plunge, deeper than ever into His Will and Plan and Purpose.

  7. Howard

    The Scriptures speak of the older teaching the younger, and that is correct. However, there is something about youth begetting youth that is important as well.

    I remember feeling a sense of rebirth as I witnessed the birth of each of my eight children. I also marvel at how school teachers seem to maintain their youth simply by their constant interaction with children.

    There is a need for rejuvenation in our spirits as well, that can only come from spending time with those who are “recently born”. We can never be of a mind that the experienced are the only ones that have something to offer.

    Your friend’s gushing fountain “primed the pump” of your own faith, allowing you to draw water from the well of your own heart to share in the words of this and other posts. Based on the comments here, others’ pumps are primed to continue the “flow of living water”.

    I appreciate your humility in admitting you’ve let some things slip. Don’t be ashamed of this, however, as “God gives grace to the humble”. Also, recognize God’s provision for restoring life through life and rejoice in it!

    I’ve made reading your blog a part of my daily devotions. Thanks for being here.

  8. Kevin Cassidy

    If your friend is fortunate to walk the Way on this earth long enough, he will be astonished to find that he is in your place for another, just as I now sometimes find myself in your place even after just so shortly ago being in his. We look back and forward at other brothers along the path. When we do it rightly, we take heart rather than envy. Probably threadbare in reference, but I take comfort in the progression of Paul’s take on his own predicament: “I am a sinner”, “I am a great sinner”, “I am the chief of sinners”. The further we go, the worse we feel, the closer we are.

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