Prodigal


I’ve been thinking about the song all day and have changed my mind about the song of the week about 20 times in the last 5 minutes.  Someone recently asked me what would happen if I titled a blog something that was only one word since I always capitalize the last word of the title…well, here we are.  There’s a first time for everything!  As I mentioned last week (and in Monday’s blog), this series is going under a bit of construction…so if you have songs that you love and you are trying to find God in them, send ’em my way, you never know when I may feature your favorite!

Song of the Week: Prodigal
Artist: OneRepublic
Lyrics:
We say good-bye
I turn my back
Run away, run away
So predictable
Not far from here
You see me crack
Like a bone, like a bone
I’m so breakable

And I take everything from you
But you’ll take anything
Won’t you?

Run away, run away
Like a prodigal
Don’t you wait for me
Don’t you wait for me
So ashamed, so ashamed
But I need you so
And you wait for me
And you wait for me

I’m on the road
To who knows where?
Look ahead, not behind
I keep saying
There’s no place to go
Where you’re not there
On your rope, I hold tight
But it’s freeing

And I take everything from you
But you’ll take anything
Won’t you?

Run away, run away
Like a prodigal
Don’t you wait for me
Don’t you wait for me
So ashamed, so ashamed
But I need you so
And you wait for me
And you wait for me

Everybody wants to be right
But only if it’s not day light
I keep trying to find my way back
My way back

Run away, run away
Like a prodigal
Don’t you wait for me
Don’t you wait for me
So ashamed, so ashamed
But I need you so
And you wait for me
And you wait for me

Runaway
Runaway
Runaway
From you
From you
From you

The name of this song just makes me think of the Parable of the Prodigal Son, which is, quite possibly, my favorite parable in all of Scripture.  So you can imagine how much I loved hearing this song, which, to me describes such a brilliant parable in such great musical detail.  Believe you me I could spend an entire blog, or two, or three…on my love for the Parable of the Prodigal Son and why it is so fantastic, but that’s not really the point of this blog. 

If you haven’t read or heard the Parable of the Prodigal Son (a.k.a. the Parable of the Lost Son) recently, you may want to go check it out (Luke 15:11-32, or read it here).  Basically every time I hear or read this story I relate to a different character in it, but most of the time I can always relate to the younger son, the one who demands the inheritance and runs away, which is another reason I love this song by OneRepublic.  “We say goodbye, I turn my back”…we say goodbye to God so often I don’t even want to count them all.  We turn our backs, we say, consciously or subconsciously, “I don’t need You, I’ve got this one.  Really, You can sit this one out Mr. Infinite Knowledge.”  Yes, it sounds ridiculous, but we’ve all done it…probably even multiple times today.  We do it in big ways and in small ways.  “That’s okay, I’m tired, I don’t really need to pray before going to bed.”  Or, “I know I probably shouldn’t be going out with these friends or staying out late, but….”  Sound familiar yet?  Yet another reason this song is fantastic, its tone, the key all seem to capture the sadness we feel deep down when we turn our backs on God.  We are SO predictable.

We walk, we run away, we turn our backs on God.  And yet, not far from here, He sees us crack.  But we are a proud people, we don’t need to turn back.  We may be cracking, breaking at the seems, but our foolish pride (what a great gift from the Fall…NOT) tells us that we can keep ourselves together.  We are SO breakable.

When I think about how easily broken we are, its hard not to wonder why we are that way.  Then I remember a few brilliant words from the eternally wise C.S. Lewis, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His mega-phone to rouse a deaf world.”  He uses our brokenness, our fragility to call us back to His perfection, to His unbrokenness, to His stability. 

Run away, run away like a prodigal, run away like the son in the story.  We buy into the lies Satan tells us that the Father isn’t waiting for us.  “Don’t You wait for me,” we believe, rather foolishly, that He isn’t waiting.  We think He is human, that He too will turn His back on us.  But in time, we realize how much we need Him, “so ashamed, but I need You so” and we turn around to find Him right there, waiting in love for us.

So you would think that once would be enough to learn our lesson: don’t turn your back on God, you will crack and break and have to return in shame.  If only it were that easy!  God knows this is a lesson I am STILL learning (He knows just how thick-headed I can be).  Its not that easy, and we head out again “on the road to who knows where,” wandering like the lost children that we are.  We look all around us and we feel so alone, we left God in the dust…again.  But then the beauty of His truth cries out, “there’s no place to go where You’re not there”.  He is everywhere.  He is waiting.

Its a cycle.  Its a process.  We all go through it, we run away…but do we run back with the same fervor that we ran away with?  When I read the story in Scripture I always picture the Father running (as if he were in the Olympics even) towards his son…but how hard is the son running?  When you find yourself away from the Father, when you find that you’ve turned your back on Him, run to Him with all that you have and I can promise you that you won’t be running long.  He is waiting to embrace you with His love..and He’s God, I imagine He’s got pretty long legs…He runs pretty fast!

Lord, we know that we turn our backs on You more times than we care to count.  Help us keep from turning our backs on You and if we do, help us to run back to You faster than we ran away.  Grant us the grace to never leave Your loving arms.  AMEN.

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