I have been in Cambodia for four years, and what do I have to show for it? A whole lot of pain and struggle, a few words I can speak in this foreign language, and some great sandal tan lines on my dirty feet. I long for more.
Far too often I am just like the prodigal son. He reached out hands in greed to receive his inheritance early, heart full of discontent and lust for worlds unknown. When he hit rock bottom, he only hoped to be allowed back home as a servant.
I too forget my true Home and the abundance of the Father who gives the most gracious gifts. My heart longs for temporary pleasure and the fulfillment of dreams. I look for the next adventure, wanting more than I already have right in front of me. My soul gets foggy from fear and frustration and what feels like lack; over and over again my memory of what is, what I have, fades away.
I need to be reminded to open my hands to receive, not in greed like the prodigal but in awe and love for the One who pours out lavishly.
Sometimes when pictures flood Facebook and Instagram— happy brides in stunning white, bright-faced babies in adorable outfits— I focus on what hasn’t happened in my own life. I didn’t think I would be single and 31, staring this decade in the face without a partner by my side. I weep or I grumble, “God, this isn’t fair! Why haven’t you answered this prayer?” I need to be reminded that the Jesus is gentle and humble, the tender Guardian of my precious heart. He invites me to receive the gift of intimacy with Him as His beloved, regardless of my relationship status. Life is not fair, no matter how hard I try to manipulate circumstances to make it so. No, God is not fair. His one-of-a-kind, special plan for each of us and the gifts He gives to us cannot be compared with someone else’s, because He loves us uniquely.
I look at my life and work and I want it all to be worth it, to know that all the hurt and endurance will count for something. I forget my role, my responsibility in this whole thing. The Father calls me to receive the gift of abiding in Him, allowing His pruning to break away the dead branches so that fruit can come. Remember, O my soul, that apart from Him I can do nothing. He draws the hearts of people, He sends the rain to the dry and thirsty earth. He is faithful to complete the work that He has started, in this place and in my heart.
When my wandering prodigal heart only sees scarcity, only focuses on what is lacking, I need a reset. I need to stop and accept Jesus’ invitation to rest. I’m terrible at resting. I make my to-do list for the day, and then feel lazy if I don’t get everything done. When I do stop for a time, I’m consumed with guilt rather than allowing myself to be filled. But Jesus offers a different path, a way to get rid of those heavy burdens. He bids us to shed the old yokes, and instead learn His rhythm- free from expectation and pressure and the weight of perfection.
He pours out one gracious blessing after another out of His abundance (John 1:16). Do we have hands open to receive, hearts ready to see these gifts from Him?
What invitation is the Father extending to you? How do you remember to receive with open hands from His abundance?