This is the devotion I wrote for our church’s Lenten devotion book this year. It was for yesterday, the sixth Sunday in Lent and coincided with my sermon on the same text.
Luke 15:11-32 “But while he was still far off, his father saw him was filled with compassion…”
Our passage today is the well known story of the Prodigal Son; a story with a myriad of truths and challenges. Today let’s focus on the moment at which the lost son faces the reality of his situation.
It is hunger that brought him to his senses. Verse 17 tells us that the prodigal son finally faced the harsh reality of his situation when he was desperately hungry and could not find anything to satisfy his hunger. He had sunk to his lowest, knee deep in swine slop and waste and found himself wanting.
Our hunger for something more, something satisfying often wakes us up to the reality of how far we’ve wandered. Sometimes we have to find ourselves nose to snout in order to see the filth that is our life. Sometimes it is the gnawing hunger pains of our soul that force us to seek out true sustenance.
In John 6:35, Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
During this journey during Lent, join me in paying attention to our hunger. What have you been feeding on that is not satisfying? Are we truly feasting on the Bread of Life or are we trying to placate our hunger with empty things?
Let our hunger wake us up. The table is set. The invitation has been sent. The Meal has been provided. Return home to feast upon the Bread of Life.
The doctor’s office was simple and bleak. The walls were empty except for the chipping beige paint on stone walls connected to a stone floor. There were two worn cots with a simple white sheet on each one and a small wooden desk with a chair on either side.
This was the room where a young Somali mother brought her dying, infant son and the room where I came face to face with a malnourished baby.
This wasn’t an infomercial and there were no famous actors and film crews pleading to me through the television. Less than a foot away from me was a baby boy – barely breathing with sunken cheeks and a bloated stomach. His arms and legs were like toothpicks and he laid in his mother’s arms lifeless. Except for a faint irregular breathe that sucked my own breathe out of me.
The mother was young and guarded. The volunteer doctors that I was there with tried to get information from her but her answers were vague. Who knows why … Muslim girl in an Islamic neighborhood in a Christian clinic; young and scared; threatened by someone…. We didn’t know. We just needed answers if this baby had any chance of living. And even with an answer it didn’t seem likely that this young boy had a chance at a future.
The baby hadn’t eaten in weeks. Why? We don’t know. But the baby was starving to death. I literally thought he would die in her lap and several times we all paused waiting for another breathe to escape from his tiny mouth. I’ve never felt so helpless. The doctors felt the same way. They didn’t have the resources at the clinic to help the boy and there was no reason to believe the woman would do what was needed now if she wasn’t willing or able to do so before. The nearest hospital would not see her because she had no money and Somalians are hated by most Kenyans. The doctors debated what to do knowing the baby had only minutes. They reached into their own pockets and gathered enough money to send the mother and baby to a nearby mission hospital. They went out and secured the ride themselves to make sure she went. They weren’t hopeful that the baby would even make it to the hospital. But they had to try. They had to do something.
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