Where in your life do you find yourself getting angry that others have something you want?
- Maybe a co-worker got the promotion you felt you deserved.
- Or your ex is happily remarried, leaving you a single parent trying to raise your kids.
- Or maybe you’re angry at the overly affectionate couple in front of you at church, while you long for a same-sex romance that God forbids.
- Maybe for you it’s anger toward those who pushed for gay marriage and won.
- Or maybe you have a friend or loved one who seems to live a charmed life while you face trouble after trouble.
We see something similar in the parable I wrote about last week: The younger brother wants his inheritance. Without commentary, the father sells half the family property and writes him a check. And the son is on his way. When he comes back penniless and looking for a job, the father throws a party.
During the same time, the older brother works dutifully at his father’s side, takes care of his father’s business, does what his father wants him to do. One evening, he returns from his father’s fields, sweaty and covered in dust and dung, and gets what must have felt like a slap in the face: His brother is back and Dad’s killed the fattened calf to celebrate.
I said last week that in this parable, Jesus reveals the Father as a Lover brimming over with desire. This is why the father had to let the younger son go. And why he couldn’t just pay the older son what he deserved.
Because every lover wants to be loved.
And this is also why the father’s gift to the younger son was a gift to the older brother, too.
Because of the father’s over-the-top generosity to the younger son, something unusual happens for the older brother. In a moment of passion and anger, he sheds his compliance, shouting accusingly at his father: “I’ve slaved for you, been the faithful one, never complained! But this other son, the one who trampled all over you, you throw him a party!?”
What’s changed? He’s no longer happy being the dutiful son, the hard worker, the loyal one. A deeper desire in his heart is rising to the surface.
He’s coming face to face with the reality that doing what the father wants is not the same thing as being whom the father wants.
He could never earn what his younger brother was receiving. And that’s what he wanted.
What I want.
Is it what you want, too?
Would you dare to face this?
Because believing that what you want is within your grasp actually means you don’t know how deep your desire really goes.
Do others get more than they deserve? Sure they do. Do wicked men prosper? Yes. Does God allow people to misuse His gifts? He does.
Wherever you find yourself angry at what others have, how others are winning, what others are getting away with, let it incite desire in you. And turn your desire toward Him, daring to believe He is what you want, and He does indeed desire you.
Question: What are you typically more in touch with: your desire for what others seem to have or your desire for God? In what practical ways can you “turn your desire toward Him?” Leave a comment below.