“And I will bring them through the fire, refining them as silver is refined and testing them as gold is tested.” Zechariah 13:8-9
I have voiced to many that this season of life is not my favorite. The independence of a 13-year-old has left me in front of the mirror of hard truth looking for an easy out. Charging hills and planting flags has been met with disenchantment while memories of a toddler carrying a fishing pole down the boat ramp cling to the fringe. It amazes me how fast a game of catch on a bluebird Sunday afternoon can turn into another battle and another missed opportunity to bond. The question lingers and doubt rolls in as I wonder if this is my inability to understand our season of life or some sort of flagrant disrespect, and just how far am I really from losing all ground. A feeling of failure collides with any real truth as uncertainty from deep within prompts lost hope and on who’s watch the absence has occurred.
References to the Prodigal Son appear in nearly 90% of the things I write. The parable resonates with me on every single level of life and the fact that my inevitable destiny with darkness was eradicated somewhere between the pigpen and Calvary, will forever carry the weight of the sacrifice required to live out the same message.
Outside of an extensive commentary, few details are given as to what is really going on behind the scenes. We see the father give the son his inheritance on the heels of a disrespectful request, wild living and later, a coming to his senses and then a fattened calf and a king’s robe. What we don’t see are the details. We don’t see the weekday morning drives or the battles at the dinner table or the tossing of the football in the front yard and the reluctance to cash in on the two cents offered. We don’t see the father coming home late from work, concerned with the stack of bills on the table and the interaction of an adolescent boy and the disobedience that sometimes follows in the wake. We only get to see the 75-yard kickoff return and the glory radiating from the pages in Luke 15 as applause fills the stadium. The daily work on the field is left to the imagination.
Roads in this life have been bumpy. I have lost count of the number of potholes and fender benders. But as I read through the Scriptures one more time, I find my own pin drop somewhere on the parallel road of transformation. I too share the same desire as the father in the story.
A plea connecting my knees to the floor and my eyes to the vertical, a request that all paths traversed lead my son home, and an understanding that anything my hands happen to temporarily touch resembling gold is as good as refuse without the vibrant sacrificial life of Jesus Christ in the driver’s seat.
As this weekday morning comes to a close, and priorities begin to light up my phone, another perfectly timed whisper reminds me of how regularly I too have taken a bath in pig slop. How many times I have battled fiercely, disrespectfully requested my inheritance and made parenting a chore. How many times I have left my dad staring at the mirror wondering where he went wrong and if there was any time left to fix it. And yet another reminder of how many times my father stood at the door awaiting my return. How many times the best robe was fetched and how many times another plate of veal was served. How many times an invitation to play another game of catch was extended. How many times the scoreboard was reset and how many times strings remained unattached.
Taking my place on the field with arms open and a heart ready for one more round of seventy times seven, another voice reminds me of how many times Jesus Himself stands at my door, desiring the same game of catch, arms open as they have always been and then an even louder cry in the wind and rustling of the trees bursting with color, exploding with life, roaring like a lion, from the mouth of the Refiner Himself that says “keep fishing - his every step is on purpose and I am far from done.”