You Are Always With Me

by | Apr 11, 2014 | 9 comments

I’ve been making my way through Luke in the mornings. During Lenten season I enjoy the gospels especially as we soberly march toward the cross, our hearts flinging open with joy at the resurrection. This morning I was in Luke 15 reading about the familiar parable of The Prodigal Son. Sometimes it’s hard to mine anything new from these well tread passages, though the Holy Spirit is good at showing us anything we may have missed, or maybe can only now handle. Today I don’t know if I have anything new for you, but one particular thought was new for me.

The story is told in verses 15:11-32, culminating with the father’s response to the oldest son who’s understandably frustrated, even angry that a party has been thrown celebrating his younger brother’s return—the brother who, by the way, had squandered the inheritance on foolish, even tawdry, living. That guy. A friend of mine recently told me that if she had been the older brother she would have stood there, hands on hips, saying, really?—in the spirit of  Seth and Amy from SNL. All this comes to a broil when the older son essentially does say really?, and has it out with the father, to which the father responds, “Son, you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.”

I once heard someone share about this passage and the “everything I have is yours” part, and it was just remarkable. I’ll never forget it. She shared about a deeply coveted experience she’d missed having only for the Lord to remind her that absolutely everything He has is hers. It turns out that someone else needed to experience the moment she’d hoped to have, and in the end, nothing was lost because when you belong to God and all He has is yours, there can be no true loss.

The phrase leading up to “everything I have is yours”, is “You are always with me”. I hadn’t thought too much about that phrase before until this morning. This is a stunning remark in light of everything the older brother was so upset about. We get angry or jealous about someone else’s party, the attention they’re receiving that maybe we should be receiving. We compare things for things, “She shouldn’t have gotten that, when I’ve done all this.” Or “Why is he getting the promotion when I’ve done all the work?” Why the nicer home, bigger family, better spouse, elaborate vacation? We focus on the monetary and material—why the ring, the calf, the robe? For him? For her? Are you kidding me?

And then the father brings us back in five words, “You are always with me.”

He brings us back to relationship. To what it means to wake up to him everyday. To see him out in the fields of our work. To call out to him with any question, because we can, because he’s right there, with us. To collapse at his table at night and dine with him over a lavish meal. To crawl under the covers knowing our beds are under the roof of his favor, the watch of his eye. The party for the younger son was significant, the celebration a study in grace and mercy, no doubt. But the grounding of the father’s words, “you are always with mewas the prize the younger son had forfeited for a season. Son, daughter, you have me! We’re together. Always. Don’t you see this is everything?

I suppose the question is how important this is to us. Would we rather have the party of the father or the presence of him? The father was reaching out to the older son’s heart when he said “you are always with me”, because absolutely nothing on this earth, nothing, no. thing. trumps relationship with God.

I don’t know what’s gnawing at you, but the offer of relationship with God through Christ is so intimate, so personal, so fulfilling, higher than even the most lavish of material celebrations. God sent His Son to die for it. As we set our sights toward Easter, my prayer is that we never forget that Christ came for many things, not the least of which was for relationship. So we could know him. (1 John 4:13-15.) You may be many things today: Disappointed, frustrated, confused, maybe even angry like the older brother. But don’t be lonely. We have The Father who has availed himself to deep abiding relationship with us. And as a bonus, he’s kicked in everything he has, as though it’s our own.

 

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9 Comments

  1. Kathy Schwanke

    He has turned my loneliness into rich fellowship with Him.

    I am an older sister who stayed within the boundaries (mostly) and related so much with the feelings of this older brother early in my faith, and though I didn't demand my way, I fell away in unbelief and returned as the younger brother.

    In a sense, it seems most of us need to 'go' in order to know 1. How muddy we are without Him and 2. How much we have WITH Him.

    Since I linked a post to your website today in my recap of our Bible study, I found your blog. So I get to take the opportunity to tell you how much the women LOVE Ruth. I have eight women from several denominations studying together and in transition.

    I so appreciate your work Kelly, and look forward to meeting you next March at Set Apart!

    • kelmint

      Thank you so much Kathy. So encouraging to hear your story. Thank you for taking the time to share. Also, love to hear about the eight women from different denominations meeting together. Sounds amazing.

  2. Julia Cristina Morata

    Another’s gain isnt our loss as we have everything in God – He who spared not His only Son, how shall He not also freely give us all things! And oh to treasure much more our relationship with the Father! Thank you Kelly for taking the time to share this truth that has touched your heart!

  3. joy

    so blessed by this…

  4. Rebecca

    I just love how our Father gives us just what we need to hear. Thank you again for sharing your heart.

  5. Con Schafman

    Would I rather have the party of the Father or the Presence of Him? Whoa. That is one to ponder! You know I think I am doing great, until that "one thing" pops up! But God is faithful to bring me back to Him.

    When I make HIM MY "ONE THING" – my Psalm 27:4, "one thing," to-GAZE-UPON-HIS-beauty-all-the-days-of-my-life "one thing," then I am calmed, content, even overwhelmed at how He satisfies me in that deepest place.

    That is why EACH day I NEED to return to His Word and allow the One who made that longing sustain and supply that longing.

    Thank you, Kelly! Yes, you did breathe new life to this parable for me. Thank you!

    Speaking of breathing new life: Our evening women's study called Night LIFE had 80 women this winter enjoy your Nehemiah series. I started off some of our nights by having some of the women share their own "Modern Day Nehemiah" Opportunities with the group. Many women are new to Jesus, new to church, new to Bible study and have never been in a small group setting (we branch into small groups I call huddles). So they got to hear from some of the women how God is using them by allowing their 'hearts to break' for the orphans and homeless in our community.

    I LOVED NEHEMIAH!! I had a BLAST in the Word during that season! THANK YOU!
    I CAN'T wait for your study on John's letters to be released! Night LIFE will be using that series winter of 2015 if it has been published by then! Any word on it's release date? I am so looking forward to being in the Word with you again!

    P.S. I have also led small groups through the "Ruth" and "No Other Gods" series and learned and grew so much! THANK YOU! Also your "Fitting Room" volume inspired me to teach a lesson on how God chooses us. It was called: "God's Changing Room." ♥

    • kelmint

      Thank you so much. Such encouraging words. We're all on a journey as we understand more every day what it means to get to be with Him. Thanks for your comments about the studies. I believe the 1, 2 & 3 John study will release in November of this year, 2014. Many blessings to you.

  6. Kara Livingston

    Kelly, I am in the middle of your NEHEMIAH study. Never have I written to an author in the countless studies I have done in the past. However, I cannot help but find you and thank you. Your wisdom and the truth you speak in Nehemiah (the first of your studies I have done) has jolted me. I am in the middle of the biggest spiritual warefare I have ever known. The journey over the past three years has been painful, terrifying and has taken me to the limits of my faith. You will never know how affirming it is to me to read the words you put down and the scripture you have aligned with it. God is using you in my life to speak such truth in a very profound way. I am thankful for your obedience to His calling on your life and the encouragement and wisdom you have provided.
    Sincerely,
    Kara

    • kelmint

      Kara, thank you for such affirming words. I am truly honored to know that God would use me in your life. I can't imagine what the last three years have been for you, but I know the Lord doesn't waste anything. Thank you for the time to share. The book of Nehemiah was a blessing and challenge for me, so I'm glad you're experiencing it that way too. Many blessings to you, Kelly

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