Remember those days of your youth when you just wanted to scream at someone, “Leave me alone!” and sometimes they did?
Shock seems to be a natural phenomenon–unusual and often difficult to understand. Jesus spent 22 verses trying to explain it to us in the Gospel of Luke and we still don’t entirely understand it.
The prodigal son continues to this day to be a favorite subject in art, on stage, in popular music, books, plenty of movies and even a T.V. series!
We can find both fiction and nonfiction book accounts of this subject. Each gives us a different viewpoint to consider. The Prodigal is the fourth book in a series by Beverly Lewis drawing us into a beautiful fictional story in the quiet Amish communities of Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana.
If you think, however, this smacks of too much taffy sweetness, Abe, the youngest son, would say, “Aint so!” It’s the story of family relationships each with its own level of anxiety, insecurity and worry: illegitimate birth, deceit, lies, and, of course, runaways. Maybe not such a happy ending after all.
Looking down a wholly [no pun intended] different path now, consider what a mother might feel about her prodigal son. Oh! The anguish of it.
If you’ve ever had a prodigal, the nonfiction book by Ruth Bell Graham, Prodigals and Those Who Love Them, will change your entire perspective whether you are a mother or a father.
It will move you to, perhaps, ask God, “How have I been praying for my prodigal?” “What am I not doing?” Graham shocks us by using five true stories of the most famous prodigals in history: people whom you have never imagined could possibly be a prodigal!
One of the most well-known figures in history, St. Augustine, addresses God and says, “…I strayed further from You, and You left me alone….” The words could give us goosebumps! How did his mother handle all those years? You might be surprised.
In the Amish tale, it’s hard to take sides. “It seemed to her [Leah] there was much to be joyful about in life, but obviously Lorraine didn’t see it that way, at least not since her younger son had forsaken his family.”
Have you ever asked what the consequences and solutions are for a prodigal and each member of his family, if any? Both of these books encourages us to soak ourselves in prayer, continually.
Ruth Bell Graham does an excellent job of showing the hurt, disappointment, confusion and fear on both sides of the prodigal son story. She also shares with us many of her personal journal pages and touching poems that can move a person to sobbing tears such as “For All Who Knew the Shelter of the Fold” which I personally am going to frame!
Both books can be found in our church library. But between the two books, if I could only choose one to take to a deserted island, it would be the Ruth Bell Graham book as a lesson in love.
I give both books a 5 Armchair Rating.