He had it all and lost it all. He left wealthy and returned destitute.
His father was financially prudent and saved for his son's future. He had high hopes, imagining the impact his child would make, but his dreams came crashing down when his son demanded his share of the inheritance early.
Estates were not normally doled out before the parent's death, but against his better judgment, the father gave his son what he requested. It had the makings of a "You made your bed, now lie on it" event. And it was. It wasn't until the bed became a pig sty and famine ravaged the land that the son realized how hard it was and came to his senses.
Luke 15:14 – After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. (NIV)
Any time we walk away from God, famines follow. I know; I tried it. It took eight years of famished living before God got my attention. Life seemed exciting. I was doing what I wanted, which included almost everything I wasn't supposed to do. But famine ravished my soul because I chose the far country instead of home where I belonged.
God's love is responsible for the vacuum every person feels. When not filled through a faith connection with Him, famine comes. Nothing we try — sex, drugs, alcohol, tobacco, the latest technological gadgets, relationships, pornography, busyness, charitable giving, attending church — can replace Him and make us happy at the same time.
Spiritual vacuums can lead to famines characterized by emotional turmoil and relational obstructions. Unresolved anger, depression, false guilt, and misplaced priorities may trouble us. Only as we love God supremely can we adequately love ourselves and others. When we don't know how to love, relationships deteriorate, flounder, and fail.
Like the prodigal son, I experienced open arms when I traded the famine for a feast. Sure, I had to give up unhealthy and rebellious actions and attitudes, but the trade was worth it. It always is when the vacuum is filled.
Prayer: Heavenly Lord, when we're tempted to trade the feast for a famine, draw us close with Your strong, loving arms. And may we then love ourselves and others adequately, by the love which You pour out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "Just As I Am Without One Plea" (Lyrics)