On Wednesday’s post we learned that in biblical times God used difficult economic situations for His Glory. We looked at the story of Ruth to highlight that at times God will uproot, or physically move people during poor economic times with the end goal of fulfilling his plan. If you missed that post be sure to read it here first.
Story Number Two: The Prodigal Son
The story is found in Luke 15:11-32. This is such a well-known story that I suspect there is little that needs to be said in the way of content or background. The son leaves home, gets desperate, then goes back home. What makes this story so compelling is that we identify with the characters and their experiences.
But let’s look at this story focusing on how the economic difficulties serve as a catalyst for change. When the son was in possession of everything he desired (his share of the inheritance) he had little need. That lack of need fertilized an attitude of independence and so the son wandered away. His money was used for whatever he desired, mostly, it seems, unwholesome activities.
After a series of foolish choices and decisions on the part of the son God decides it is time to get the attention of this vagrant son. God uses a tool we observed in Part I – a famine. The famine leads to hunger. The hunger leads to desperation. And in his desperation the son begins to question. He analyzes his situation, and dissatisfied with the results, he seeks alternatives. An obvious conclusion is made: the son was better off in the home of his father. So he went home.
It would be logical to conclude that the analyzing, questioning, and desperation would never have happened without the catalyst of the famine. In other words, God created the perfect opportunity for the son to once again seek out his father.
What does this mean for us today?
There are many, many people in the same stage of this son. This economic condition has caused them to realize some foolish decisions and choices they have made along the way. Others who find themselves as innocent victims still ask how these events could have happened. They are reflecting and analyzing – and at times are not always completely satisfied with the conclusions of their considerations. This reflection likely would not occur without these current economic conditions. There comes a time when God needs to get our attention and it seems that a famine has always achieved that objective. At times God will use economic conditions to provide an environment for spiritual reflection.
Often people will try and fix something at this stage. They tinker with various aspects of life trying to find the one part that will make everything seem alright. I believe that this tinkering will provide little benefit unless coupled with a return home to the Father.
Once again we see that God has opened a door through this current economic condition. Remember, I am not necessary concluding that God is to credit (blame) for this condition, but He certainly will find a way to use it for His Glory.
The third and final post for “Spiritual Lessons form Difficult Economic Times” will post Sunday.