Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Advent 2014

Wednesday, December 10


Teachers know that a lesson will go more smoothly if they can draw an analogy from a new concept to something with which the student is already comfortable.  With high school students, if I can couch my topic in terms of money or dating I can teach just about anything!  It makes sense that the writers of the bible describe God and our relationship with Him in terms of the most fundamental relationships in our lives.  As parents, we know the intensity of the love we have for our children, the need to protect them and guide them so that they grow into happy, productive adults.  As children, we know the comfort of having parents who are always there for us.  References to God as a loving father abound.

The parable of the prodigal son is one of these references that I have never really liked.  I don't know that I identify with the older brother who stays at home taking care of the estate, but I am certainly sympathetic.  I gained a new perspective in March of 2003.  I'll never forget seeing the news story that Elizabeth Smart had been found alive and well, and returned to her parents nine months after being kidnapped from their home.  I remember thinking about how relieved her parents must have been to have her back with them.  I knew that I had never felt a happiness as grand as what they must have been feeling, that I couldn't even imagine feeling that happy, because I had never suffered a loss as devastating as the one they had endured.  And then I got it.  This parable is not about the older brother at all, but about the father who lives each day grieving the loss of his child, and the indescribable joy he feels upon his return.  It is about a God who loves us as a father would, not because we have earned it or deserve it, but because we are His own creation.

There is a great, calming peace that comes from knowing this.  Do you remember the children's hymn that says, "I've got peace like a river in my soul?"  The other two verses are:  "I've got love like an ocean in my soul" and "I've got joy like a fountain in my soul!"  May the grace of our Heavenly Father cause our souls to be filled with peace that is like a river, love as deep and wide as the ocean, and joy that is like a fountain.


- Amy Durden


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