Faith is a Fatted Calf

B.J. Funk

B.J. Funk

By B.J. Funk –

Do you have a son or daughter living out in the pig pen of life? One day, he or she was your little darling, and then suddenly the teenage years struck, and that darling changed into someone you did not know and who wanted very little to do with you. Defiant became his or her middle name, while Sullen, Depressed, and Angry became synonyms for the child you used to know.

Have you read the story of the Prodigal Son and thought, “That’s my child!” Out in the far country, this beloved son or daughter’s rebellion has caused you deep grief and unimaginable pain. He might as well have been in a pig pen, keeping the pigs, with no food to eat, no place to take a bath, no home-cooked meals. Maybe it was drugs. Maybe it was rebellion against you. Maybe it was a crowd of wrong-doers who seemed to have a stronger pull than home. You’ve cried. You’ve prayed. You’ve been to counseling. You’ve talked to your preacher. Still, the pain persists. Perhaps there is one thing that you have not thought of, and that would be the trusted, tried and true element of faith.

Is your faith such that you can say, “No matter what today brings, I know who my Redeemer is, and I know that my Lord is hearing my cries and my prayers”? Have you embraced the step of faith?

The Father of the Prodigal Son held a great feast when his wayward son returned. He ran to meet his boy, put his arms around him, said nothing about the smells of the pigs all over him or the horrid dry smell of his breath. Instead, he put a robe and sandals on him, and began the celebration.

Do you believe that this could be your story one day? If so, is the fatted calf in your freezer, resting under peas and okra for the day of celebration? What are you waiting for?

It’s one thing to say, “I pray every day that my child will come to his senses,” but quite another thing to put on the legs of faith as a running partner in your quest. If faith is the assurance of things hoped for as Hebrews 11:1 says, and is the unseen that we are to fix our eyes on, as 2 Corinthians 4:18 says, then we can be confident that our faith legs can carry us to the finish line. If we make the mistake of fixing our eyes on our present circumstances, we will run the race with sluggish legs of discouragement. With every step, we will look down at our pudgy, fat legs of doubt, and tell ourselves this is just too hard. Why did we think we could have faith for something so huge, anyway? We might as well turn around, admit our defeat and spend our time moaning and groaning over our fate. Failure covers our shoes with mud, bogging us down, while faith scoops up the mud and builds a house.

We cannot see faith. We can only put it into practice, exercise it, allow it to spread wings and fly. Faith is being sure of what we hope for, being convinced of what we do not see. If we have to have proof, we do not have faith. If someone has to draw us a picture, produce a product, give us a hint or maneuver an outcome, we do not have faith.

Faith lands lightly on your shoulder, as a butterfly, not pointing you to the answer but pointing you to believe anew, to trust with confidence, to step out blindly on a long road, not knowing how you will get to the end, but being confident that you will. Faith flies to your heart with an assurance that what you want will come to pass, as you combine faith and seeking God’s will. Faith spreads a picnic blanket in front of you when you are so hungry you think you will faint, and whispers, “Will you believe there will be food enough to cover the entire blanket?” Faith does not build on past failures. If life was bleak for you before, faith digs a hole, buries that lost dream, and then smiles at the grand new promises that are to come.

You and God are the main actors in faith’s program, the cheerleaders of faith’s opening act. As the curtain comes up, even though you cannot see the final act, you cheer anyway, because you believe.

Faith purchases a fatted calf long before the actual celebration, just so you will have it in your freezer when the curtain opens on the final celebration act.

Faith is a fatted calf.

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