I remember the last time I spoke with my youngest daughter. It was several years ago, when she informed me that she never wanted to see or speak to me again. Her reasons? They were vague. She never really told me what sins I had committed to deserve such a harsh punishment. It left me breathless and puzzled. I knew I had not been the kindest to my own mother. I had often said things to her I deeply regret now. I had occasionally been harsh to her, but my mother was from another era and she always bore my reproach with kindness. However, I would never have considered cutting my mother off just because I had issues with her. If you love someone, as I did her, you don’t deliberately hurt them.
Sadly, my youngest is not alone in her judgements. Several of her siblings have followed suit and also cut me off. I won’t go into family dynamics here, because that is not the purpose of this article. Suffice it to say that my heart is broken. This is a particularly hard week as I have back to back birthdays to deal with emotionally. Two of my children were born a week apart. My heart aches for them and I find myself breaking down sometimes. Tears flow from my eyes even as I write this. I long for reconciliation. I long for a chance to talk with them and hear their accusations. I long for a chance to tell them how sorry I am that I failed them. I know that I am not alone in my pain. I have heard statistics that 30% of the younger generation have chosen to do exactly the same thing to their parents, cut them off.
With this pain in my heart, I turn to the Lord. He has promised me that my prodigals will return to me. But it has been years. It would be easy to give up, to lose hope. As I spoke to the Lord about my children this morning He gave me some Scripture that renewed my hope. If you are waiting on the Lord, waiting for prayers that have still not been answered, hope that is beginning to fade, sorrow that is overwhelming at times, then let me encourage you with what He has shown me.
I was reading in Psalm 27 today when I encountered verses 14 and 15: “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!” As I read these verses I decided to write them in my journal so I would remember them. But then I added something else to my journal. I wrote, “So here I am Lord, waiting on you. Show me your goodness in the land of the living. But I feel as though I have already seen your goodness. How can I wait for more?”
It is true. God has been good to me! He has been faithful to me. He has never forsaken me. I look at my life, and I have learned to trust Him, even with the things that do not or did not make sense. Do I dare ask for more of His goodness?
As I sat there writing in my journal, I heard Him say to me, “why do you limit my goodness?” He then showed me another psalm, also written by David, one that I am sure many are familiar with. Psalm 23:5-6 tells us: “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever!” That word “follow” is quite interesting. It means to pursue, to run after and to chase. Let me paraphrase that. God’s goodness and mercy runs after me, chases me and pursues me. It’s not just walking behind me, slowly. No, it means He is running after me with intention to bless me.
At the moment that I heard Him say that to me, “why do you limit my goodness?”, I wasn’t sure whether to rejoice or to feel rebuked. Perhaps it’s both! All I know is that as I read the verses He showed me, I felt renewed hope. It strengthened my heart. I am reminded that the prodigal eventually came to himself, remembered his father, and went home. Luke 15:11-32
This promise of God’s goodness and mercy in the land of the living, is not just about prodigal children however. It is about everything in our lives. David was being hunted down by a madman called King Saul, hiding in caves and running for his life, when he wrote these verses. David saw the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Eventually, he was made king and God called him a “man after his own heart”. (1Samuel 13:14, Acts 13:22) Why did God call Him that? Because David never gave up hope and always trusted God. David believed in God’s goodness and did what God told him to do. We might not be running for our lives, we might not have prodigal children we wait for, but it doesn’t matter. We all have things in our lives that are painful, even agonizing at times. What we do with those things is what matters.
Do we give up? Do we lose hope, and become bitter? Do we become offended with God? It’s not hard to do that! But I would suggest a better way. I would suggest that we strengthen ourselves in the Lord. I would suggest that we sit at the Lord’s feet and allow Him to comfort us with His word. That’s what He did for me. He comforted me and strengthened me with His word. I choose to believe Him. I choose to wait. I choose to believe that His goodness and mercy is running after me and chasing me down. I encourage you to make the same choice.