March 10 is my younger brother’s birthday. When I realized I would be writing a reflection on the prodigal son for my little brother’s birthday, I wished that Marshal had gotten into more trouble.
Wouldn’t that be a great devotion? I could write about my brother stealing money from my father’s wallet, being expelled from school, and chasing wild women. I could tell about the Saturday the police knocked on the door to say that my brother had been arrested for drunk driving in the middle of the day while I was working in the yard, sweat pouring off my face. I had planned to spend that Saturday night studying calculus—I was working hard to be the valedictorian because I knew that would make my parents proud—but now I had to console my weeping mother while my father went to bail out my no-account sibling. I could point out how hard it is to always be the good son. I would write an amazing devotion about how my brother and I were like the brothers in Luke 15.
Unfortunately, Marshal never got into any trouble and I was not the valedictorian, so I have to write about more universal emotions. I can only point out that most older siblings have a tiny, secret desire that their younger brother will make them look good by comparison. It is not that we want our brother to have a hard time, but if he had to beg our father for forgiveness, that would not be a total loss.
Most days we want to be loved so much that we do not see that we already are. The robe is hanging in our closet. The ring is on our finger. The sandals are on our feet. The table is set.
What difference would it make if you spent the day grateful for God’s love?
God of all compassion, help me stop feeling inferior long enough to feel loved. Amen.