ODJ: Out of the Shadows

May 14, 2018 

READ: Luke 15:10-32 

His father said to him, “Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours” (v.31).

Researcher Brené Brown describes encountering in her work a unique group of people who seemed able to find significant joy and purpose in their lives regardless of their circumstances. The common thread uniting such people? Vulnerability. Perhaps counterintuitively, Brown found that those most willing to face their insecurities were also those most rooted in a secure sense of love and belonging.

This is just as true in our relationship with God, as Jesus’ parable in Luke 15:11-32—an analogy for God’s love (v.10)—illustrates. The story describes two sons hiding their insecurities from their father in very different ways.

The younger son masks his vulnerabilities in obvious ways, arrogantly abandoning his father for a reckless lifestyle (vv.12-13). He only admits how wrong he was and how much he needs his father when life becomes truly desperate (vv.17-19).

But at the end of the story we find out that that the older, ‘good’ son has also been far from his father—feeling unappreciated and unloved. But instead of bringing his pain to his father, he masked his insecurities with good behaviour. When his brother returned and was given a lavish feast free of charge, all his resentment and pain finally came pouring out (vv.28-30).

How often do we respond similarly to our doubts about God’s love—suppressing them or thinking that if we just try harder we’ll earn the confidence we long for?

Like the older brother, we’re faced with a choice. We can keep hiding in the shadows, or we can accept God’s invitation to pour out our heart—all of our heart—before Him (Philippians 4:6-7).He invites us to find healing in His love and join our family at the celebration feast (Luke 15:28,31-32).

—Monica Brands

365-day plan: Psalm 23:1-6

Read Psalm 139 for an example of intimate vulnerability before God. 
Why do you sometimes suppress your doubts and insecurities instead of bringing them before the Father? What might you need to bring into His light?