It was one of those times when parents worry. Chandler hadn’t checked in; I didn’t know where he was or when he was coming back; and it appeared that his phone was down. I don’t care how strong your faith is, as a parent, you worry. It’s just part of the job description. I mean Paul worried when he got to Troas and his travel companion, Titus, was not there as planned. He had “no rest for his spirit,” the passage says (2 Corinthians 2:12-13), and so because of it, he left there and went on to Macedonia, hoping to find Titus there. The scriptures even say that because of his anxiety, Paul walked right by an open door of ministry that the Lord had opened for him. His worry rendered him worthless to God. This was the same Paul who wrote “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). (It makes me wonder if Paul ever had anyone quote his own words back to him.)
And yet, Paul is still able to say, literally in the next breath, “But thanks be to God who always leads us in His triumph in Christ” (2 Corinthians 2:14). God is always leading us. He’s got a plan, even when we screw up the one we had. He has another one. He has a plan even when we don’t.
So when my phone rang at 5:00 this morning and it was Chandler, I was so relieved I forgot to be mad. And when he asked for money, I gave him twice what he was asking for. And suddenly I got a new perspective on the father of the prodigal son. I always thought he threw the party for the son who came home, but I’m wondering if it might have been more for himself. He wanted to celebrate. Generosity was a natural outflow from the joy and relief in his heart. His son was alive, he was safe and he was home. Everybody, come help me celebrate!
It’s the same thing that happened to me on a much smaller scale. You want what? Certainly. And here’s some more. Anything else I can get you? And I’m naturally stingy.
It’s the gracious heart of the Father. It is grace turned outward.