9 Hour Prodigal

by AJ Rasmussen “There was a [woman] who had two sons…” (Luke 15:11-32)

I’m sure most people have either heard of or read the parable of the prodigal son. The story goes, one son grew up to be a hard worker, successful, and wise. The other son, a disappointment and squanderer of his inheritance which he took early, living wildly until he was broke and broken. Sure, there were highlights, and periods of success, but in the end his life appeared to be a failed experiment, but not in his father’s eyes.

When at the end of his rope, he would be greatly humbled as he witnessed the man he’d become. He was working among the peasants and eating worse than his father’s pigs even. It was at this time when he lowered his head and walked home in hopes his dad would accept him back as a servant. His father did accept him back, and not as a lowly servant but as a prince. He sent for the best food, the best clothes, and had a celebration of his son’s return! Jesus states in Luke 15 that “…There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents (turns to God) than over 99 people who need no repentance.”

I am that prodigal son, only I didn’t return home, yet I did in a sense. In a sense, I returned to the son my mom had raised, but it took harsh consequences to get me there. It would take life in prison before I awoke, was humbled, and returned.

Often, we overlook life’s blessings, and squander the blessings. Like me, you might even have taken your mother’s love for granted. It’s not often a person experiences unconditional love, but from a mother it never ends. I’ve stretched and tested, and done all things that ought to infect that love, yet I’ve still taken it for granted at times, often focused on the desired blessings I didn’t have, while missing God’s blessings I did have.

As I traveled from Clallam Bay, Washington to Shelton, I experienced one of the longest and most boring trips I’ve taken. This trip awoke me to the 16,000 plus miles, and five thousand or so dollars my mom spent to visit me. As I passed each dead stump, surrounded by dreary wetness and desolation, I began to appreciate my mother on a whole different level. Nine hours round trip, one hundred dollars minimum each trip, at least once per month. That is a love unknown to most, especially for a son who not only squandered his own funds and opportunities, but also a portion of his mother’s yet to be given inheritance. Money spent by my family to offer me second, third, and even fourth chances.

The Lord tells us to “Forgive Seventy-Times-Seven”. I’ve likely used up all 490, yet my mothers love has never wavered. Sure, she’s been greatly disappointed and hurt by my choices and actions, but never has her fountain of love run dry. May is a special month where we celebrate Mother’s Day. My hope this Mother’s Day is that our mother’s will know how much they are appreciated, that they will know we are truly sorry for our waywardness. Let’s not let it only be on Mother’s Day that we show our appreciation, let it be today, tomorrow, and every day after.

Oh, isn’t it good to be home!? This from a prodigal son whose mother often travelled 9 hours just to visit for four! Happy Mother’s Day MOM!

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