Whenever we find ourselves ensnared in addiction, we can, if we are careful and diligent, discover in it a godly desire turned upside down. So driving each of our affections-gone-mad is a God-instilled longing for beauty, strength, hope, relationship, and delight.
In other words, there is a deeper desire driving our addiction. What we need and want and what we are made for ultimately, is relationship. In Jesus’ telling of the prodigal parable, we are not privy to what the son was after, specifically. Was he searching for fulfillment of longings he could not satisfy at his father’s table?
What was keeping him from connecting with his father’s love? Jesus doesn’t tell us, but because his parables are intended to cause us to reflect on our own journeys, we might surmise that the prodigal both craved and feared intimacy, as we do.
The young son struck out on his own to find life apart from owning his deep longing for connection and relationship with his father. It seems that the story of the prodigal son is teaching us that it is relationship that drives us, damages us, and heals us.
Until we discover how we have moved away from relationship and toward false connections and name what we truly crave (authentic intimacy), we will be stuck, much like the prodigal lost in the pigpen.
In what ways has your journey been similar to the prodigal’s, if only in subtle ways? How have you moved away from relationship and toward false connections?