I wonder what she thought—the mother of the prodigal son.
We know nothing about her. She isn’t mentioned in the parable Jesus related in Luke 15:11-32. Although Scripture does not record the mother’s experience, with my mind’s eye I caught a behind-the-scenes glimpse from the perspective of a modern-day mother, recognizing vast differences in our cultures yet believing the emotions of the heart are the same.
See her rocking her newborn son. Blessed with another boy! Surely you have a mighty purpose to fulfill.
Studying his tiny features, she cuddles the young one against her chest and kisses his brow. My child, you have brought me great joy!
She charts his growth, delighting in every accomplishment, savoring each moment. A quick learner. I wonder what your future will bring.
Her older son is already in the fields, becoming comfortable with manly tasks, caring for the herds and the land. But the young one stays close to Mother for now. But now passes so swiftly.
Overnight, it seems, he has become a strong and handsome youth. She never imagined the thoughts swirling in his mind.
Husband says the young one wants his inheritance now, and he’s decided to let him have it! How can anything good come of this?
She hides her tears as the boy leaves to pursue his freedom. Feeling the heartbreak of helplessness, she watches as he disappears from sight. What are you thinking, young one? Will I ever see you again? I believed you were created for a mighty purpose.
Day after day she yearns for her straying child, struggling to suppress thoughts of the evil enticements beckoning him. Where are you today, young one? Are you safe? Do you ever think of home? Do you know how much you are loved?
Through long, lonely nights she never stops praying and she never loses hope.
After countless days of waiting, she hears an outburst of joy. The father has been watching and in the distance he sees someone. Could it be the young one? He runs to welcome him and lavish him with love.
Much has been written about this story showing our heavenly Father’s relentless love.
I can’t begin to explore the depth of teaching the Lord intended to convey. Even though he didn’t think it necessary to give the mother’s point of view, I hoped seeing the events through her lens would allow me to imagine the deep emotion of a parent letting go of a wayward child.
But I could neither imagine the heartbreak nor the letting go.
After I’d pondered those somber thoughts for a moment, a hopeful reality flooded me with joy. There is a difference between “letting go” and surrendering our child to God, trusting the future to him.
When my children reached the teenage years, I felt overwhelmed with fear of the unknown. I wanted to go everywhere they went and hold their hands, knowing that wouldn’t be normal. As I prayed about my unreasonable fear, the Lord spoke in my spirit.
Moses’ mother put him in the basket. She didn’t know how I would save him but she knew me well enough to trust that I’d bring him safely through the bulrushes.
That historical account in Exodus 1-2 gave me courage to surrender my precious ones to the Lord, knowing he would bring them safely through the bulrushes. And he did.
If you’re praying for a prodigal…
- Never stop praying and never stop believing.
- Love unconditionally and leave the changing to God.
- Trust him to bring your prodigal safely through the bulrushes.
- Know that he has a mighty purpose and nothing will be wasted.
Please comment about how God has encouraged you to keep trusting him when circumstances gave you little hope. And I’d appreciate your sharing this article with your friends.
© Dianne Barker 2021