Man in field waiting for running childOne of my favorite stories in the Bible is the one about the Prodigal Son. I have written a small book about it, so I have studied it. The biggest part is everyone, in some manner, can relate to this inspiring story. At some point, you had to decide what you were going to do with God and how you view Him.

Every day, at work, I am in the company of pre-prodigals, current prodigals, and post-prodigals. It is easy to be pre-prodigal if you haven’t yet faced a serious situation in your life that takes you past the platitudes and leaves you facing something that plunges you into questions and doubts about God. The exact place the current prodigals are now. Struggling, wanting to have faith, but questioning what or who to have faith in.

This is where a lot of the children are when they arrive at B&GH. For many of them, their world has just fallen apart and they see no hope. No light at the end of this very unknown and terrifying situation. Often folks think the children must surely feel safer. Right? Many come from terrible situations. Abuse, neglect, etc., but they are snatched from that (albeit thankfully) and placed in a strange place with lots of strange people.

They are struggling in every area and if they have ever been taught anything about God, how loving and caring He is; and, if they haven’t started questioning that Truth yet, they definitely are now. This is where, in the story of the Prodigal, we find that young man in front of a trough in the middle of a pigpen contemplating eating with pigs. When life kicks you around, you don’t feel worthy of love. You don’t feel like you deserve to have someone care for you. Often, you can’t even work up what it takes to trust anybody anymore!

So, please pray for our prodigals and as you post-prodigals work with or interact with them, please remember what it felt like to be a prodigal. No, maybe your situation wasn’t like theirs, but you still went through feelings, doubts, and questions that are much the same and you can patiently give wisdom, understanding, patience, kindness, hope, and healthy love. These children will bounce off you verbally and behaviorally. How we respond has the potential to show them they are safe. That we do care. That they are important. And most of all, that God does love them and will welcome them into His family just as the father in our story. The father RAN to His prodigal and greeted him with tears running down His face and a huge smile on His face. He enveloped His boy in a huge bear hug and then made certain His boy knew how precious he was to Him. He clothed him in splendor. He gave him sandals. He put a ring on His finger to signify His boy’s position in the family. A position of power. Then, He had a huge party for His son to celebrate that he was back and he was alive!!

If only our children knew how much they are loved and how much God wants them to know their lives can change. They would be able to smile and laugh and dance and sing. They would have hope. They would have direction. They would soon be post-prodigals able (and hopefully willing) to pass all of that wisdom and hope and faith on to the next prodigal they encounter.

Just as we post-prodigals do constantly at B&GH.

Thank you to the staff and administration who work tirelessly to ensure our children are well cared for every day. Thank you to the volunteers, groups, and individuals who give of their time, their prayers, and their gifts so even just one child will get a glimmer in their eye and a huge smile on their face. That makes a hard day/week/month worth it!

We are not here just to house children. We are here to open hearts. Bind wounds. Provide an opportunity to heal. Open wide the door that shows these children what life can and will offer.

We are in the business of making post-prodigals who will go on to change our world!!

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Rhonda Harvey is a Life Assistant Coach II with Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina.

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