But while he (the son) was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.~Luke 15:20b NIV
Several years ago, a friend’s adult daughter abruptly left her family and friends, cutting ties with everyone she knew.
She has always held a tender spot in my heart. Most of the time I am able to release her to the Lord’s care, but sometimes she weighs on my heart and I have to pray.
I search the Internet looking for any clues. Yesterday was a searching day. There was no judgement in my heart toward her, just a deep longing to see her found and brought home. She would be welcomed “with open arms and hearts.”
It is like the Prodigal Son who went his own way and lived a life of unwise choices. The father allowed the son to go, but always kept a hopeful, watching eye. He longed for the day he would catch a glimpse of his son returning home.
The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.~Zephaniah 3:17 KJV
It is by no coincidence that the song taken from Zephaniah 3:17 is playing in my mind today. In this passage, the Lord spared from judgment, a remnant of people who had been in rebellion, but who decided to return to God.
God, in turn, came to their rescue.
The phrase, “he will rest in his love,” always stood out to me. The word “rest” here, can be the type of rest referred to in a court of law. God is the rightful judge, but also the advocate/defender. The Lord “rested” the case for their defense, bringing an end to any more discussion about what they had done wrong.
Here the word “love” connotes more than mere fondness or light affection. It means to be “lovesick.” “He will rest in His love,” means that, because of the intensity of His love for them, He will defend them and rest His case — never again to mention their sin.
If there is any part of us that has been in rebellion, draw us back home.~Julie Souza Bradley Lilly, contributing author to Love Knots: Stories of Faith, Family, and Friendships
What “prodigal” areas do you need the Lord’s help with?
Father God, we come before You. If there is any part of us that has been in rebellion, draw us back home. We cling to the hope found in John 19:30, where on the cross Jesus said, “It is finished.” The payment for every single sin that would ever be committed, from the beginning to the end of time, was paid for, in full, simply for our asking.
Father, we all have a prodigal inside of us —unsurrendered flesh that needs to repent. Help us to turn around and run home. You are waiting for us with open arms and an open heart. With You as our Father, there is no fear of rejection or blistering rebuke — no fear of being mocked or beaten for our choices. There is only the promise of a warm, enveloping embrace, tears of joy for a lost child who has finally come home, and a song of celebration that fills the whole house with joy.
Thank You for being that kind of Father, and for leaving the light on for all of us prodigals.
In Jesus’ Name ❤️ Amen
Copyright 2021: I’ll Leave the Light On for You. Love, Dad.: Julie Souza Bradley Lilly: All Rights Reserved
Meet Our Contributor
JULIE SOUZA BRADLEY LILLY
Julie Souza Bradley Lilly is the writer of Prayers of a Ragamuffin Warrior, a self-professed chief-cook-and-bottle-washer at Gift of Thorns Facebook ministry.
She is a devotion writer for VineWords: Devotions and More, specializing in the area of prayer, and a contributing author to Love Knots: Stories of Faith, Family, and Friendships (VineWords Publishing).
When asked about who she is, Julie is quick to tell you she is a worshipper, a servant, blessed wife, step-mom of four adult children, caregiver, retired chiropractor, writer, and most-importantly, a forgiven daughter of God. With thirty-plus years in healthcare, Julie is passionate about seeing the broken come to receive healing and find wholeness in right-relationship with the Creator. Through her own multiple injuries and PTSD, a traumatic brain injury and other health concerns, she has found the generosity of God to be true to His Word in turning all things together for the good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.
For those entrusted with a thorn in the flesh, one of Julie’s greatest joys is to see the discovery of the treasure the Father hides, tucked in among the thorns. Julie shares that God is good and His mercies endure forever. It is Julie’s prayer that the body of believers will honor the Lord and encourage one another toward wholeness, spiritual growth, and mountain-moving faith.
For more encouragement, visit Julie’s websites. At Prayers of a Ragamuffin Warrior, Julie shares encouraging articles with prayers. At Gift of Thorns, Julie and her contributor team share powerful and life-changing input, inspiring readers to passionately pursue God.
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