When you do not trust anyone or in anything, faith can seem like a
far off concept. From a prodigals’ perspective, faith appears like
‘something’ that is for the older generations, like their parents or
grand parents. Even if a prodigal used to believe, the world and their
experiences in this world, have led them to distrust and unbelief. For
parents watching on it can seem incomprehensible that their kids, who
left the faith, turned their back on the Triune God, the only one whom
they can trust in this world.
Part of the prodigal’s ‘testing’ of the faith is experimenting with
life situations to see if they can trust in others. Often this testing,
results in a life filled with hurts and disappointments. After having
been let down by their high school teachers, college professors or
bosses at work, they find themselves questioning authority figures.
Then time after time, as they search for the unconditional love from
friends or even a spouse, they soon find out that the love they crave
only results in heartbreak. The end-result of this testing leads to a
prodigals’ thinking that you can only rely on yourself and not trust
Prodigals have a common misconception about their parents and trust.
It appears to them that their parents and others that have ‘the faith’
have a perfect life, that everything in their lives is hunky dory. On
the other extreme, prodigal’s can look at their parents in disbelief
wondering how they could be so foolish as to believe in someone that
they cannot see. They end up thinking one of two thoughts; 1) that the
faith is unattainable and perhaps false because nothing can be that good
in life or 2) that they are not good enough to be a part of ‘the faith”
because of what they have done in the past or how they are living their
Prodigals do not realize how much alike they are to their parents and
others that are walking in the faith. Parents and believers alike, all
share the same struggle of feeling like they do not measure up or that
they can only rely on themselves. It is at this point that we can see a
commonality in our life situations. But unlike prodigals, as we grow
in the faith, we are enabled to trust our Heavenly Father more each day.
The Holy Spirit is at work in our lives as we read and hear the Word.
We experience the Triune God’s presence through the administration of
the sacrament and order of service at church. When we pray, we share
our struggles and concerns with our Heavenly Father; he comforts and
enables us through the power of the Holy Spirit.
The connection point between parents, other believers and prodigals
begins with trust and in whom we trust. As we look back at our life
situations and compare the times we trusted in the Lord or trusted in
ourselves, we get a glimpse of where prodigals initially stand in making
their decisions in whom to trust. We can all look back and ask
ourselves, in whom did we trust at that time and why? The very
temptation to rely and trust in our-self is exactly what prodigals
experience each day. But as we know, we have an alternative to what the
prodigals’ choices are and that option is something that we can share
Showing the commonality of our life situations can be as simple as:
1) telling them about our concern over issues at work between one of our
co-workers and not knowing what to do or 2) letting them know that we
too tend to worry of the future. This simple action of sharing can break
it down for prodigals to show them that the faith is real as well as a
gift for them too. It is at this point that we can tell them that this
is where the faith makes a difference and in whom we put our trust.
Whether one is a prodigal or a believer, realizing the commonality that
others are going through the same experiences brings comfort in knowing
that you are not alone.
Heavenly Father, we thank you that you have that not given up on us,
even though we time and again have difficulties trusting you with our
life and our young people. So often we conclude that things are out of
control and there is nothing we can do to get matters right. While this
is indeed the true state of affairs, we fail to turn to you for help.
Forgive us our unbelief and lack of trust. By the power of the Spirit
through the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ enable us not only to
trust you more fully but also to live out this trust in our daily
relationship with others and especially with our young people. We praise
your for your great goodness manifested in Jesus Christ our Savior and
Lord and communicated to us by the Holy Spirit through the good news. We
pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen
Bible Verses ESV
I will give them a heart to know that I am the Lord, and they shall be
my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with
their whole heart.
Let him not trust in emptiness, deceiving himself, for emptiness will be his payment.
And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
“He trusts in the Lord; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him!”
The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.
Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock