The Prodigal Child – A Time to Scatter and a Time to Gather

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them…

(Ecclesiastes 3:1, 5a)

A time to scatter stones…

In Joshua 4, we read how the Israelites gave glory to God by taking stones and piling them up as a monument.  The scattering of stones has always served as a reminder to God’s people of His faithfulness.  As we scatter the stones of our journey in parenting a prodigal, we also declare the goodness and glory of God.  It’s a public declaration of what God has done and is doing.  Yes, even in the midst of a mess we recognize that good still exists and hope has not completely died.


Let me share a very personal example.  When my 17-year-old daughter became pregnant, it seemed like a pretty hopeless situation—made worse when a few months after giving birth, the father of her child left her.  Being a single, teenage mom doesn’t sound like a God plan.  Yet He showed me how my daughter’s life was actually saved by the birth of my granddaughter.  Quite literally.


A time to gather them…

The stones of our journey in parenting a prodigal are sometimes not meant to be on public display.  Some things aren’t to be shared with others, even in the way of asking for prayer.  Learn when to keep things to yourself and instead, gather those stones in your heart.  Trust God with what you are to do with them.


Oftentimes it’s the gathering of stones that forces us to greater dependency on God.  We don’t look for answers in others.  But in the One who already knows the necessary path our children must take.


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