In a far country

Happy as a pig...
It is hard for a good girl to know when she is walking away from God.


The bad girls and boys do it clearly. They ask for their inheritance straight up, off to gamble it away and say ‘ciao for now, I’d actually rather you were dead, God.’


I don’t tend to do that. But there is another type of walking away.


It happens in the day to day busyness, the loving of fun and distraction and the Internet more than true relationship. The edging away, the gradual letting go of priorities, the loosening of the fight for holiness, the blurring of the lines between culture and Christian, no longer being distinctive, fading into the background – until one day you stop yourself and ask, ‘Am I eating pig swill? Have I abandoned the feasting in my Father’s house for this?’


And I return to Luke 15, and need to read the words once more of that incredible picture of God as Father, standing at his home, honorable, faithful, hurt and injured but still loving. I need to pause awhile on that image of God seeing his child from a long way off, and breaking into a run – how God chooses indignity rather than grudge-bearing, how His very being speaks of joy and restoration and how He is just running, running, running to put His arms around us and welcome us home.


Over to you:

  • Which part of the story do you most need to hear today – the warning against walking away, or the joy of seeing God running?

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30 Responses to In a far country

  1. Lindsey van Niekerk 7th October, 2012 at 2:23 am #

    I really love your view on the prodigal story. I have studied, heard it preached, (and taught it) a lot. And that understanding that as a “good girl” I, can, often be like the older son…sitting back judging…came hard but true.

    Love getting to know here as well as in our group and hearing your wisdom… #GoodStuff

    • Tanya 8th October, 2012 at 10:19 am #

      Thanks Lindsey! Great getting to know you. šŸ™‚

  2. Luke Leadbetter 5th October, 2012 at 10:38 pm #

    Wow. This has just hit me right where I needed to be hit. This is me. Thank you for this Tanya.

    God bless.

    • Tanya 6th October, 2012 at 5:04 pm #

      SO glad to hear this! šŸ™‚ Thanks, Luke.

  3. Alia Joy 5th October, 2012 at 10:35 pm #

    The story of the prodigal might very well be my favorite in the Bible. I have felt God deal with me in all the ways. I have seen myself filthy, despairing, with my back to God, only to be welcomed in with celebrations. I have seen myself as the prodigals’s brother, hoarding grace and mercy and wishing judgement on others. I have seen myself as the father, longing for the lost to come back. Truly beautiful story that resonates with me no matter where I am. Thanks so much for sharing today. It blessed me.

    • Tanya 6th October, 2012 at 5:03 pm #

      I know exactly what you mean about putting yourself in the picture, though I have never put myself in the Father’s shoes in that way – that’s a really helpful thought, thank you. I love Tim Keller’s book, The Prodigal God, which brings so much of the message right home – do you know it?
      It’s great to see you again – thanks for visiting. Loving your Oct series on the church!

  4. Nancy @ Pilgrim Wanderings 5th October, 2012 at 10:24 pm #

    Loved this post. Having watched someone close to me turn completely away and run from God, this reminds me that I need to be careful to not let bitterness and unforgiveness – in the guise of righteous indignation – eat away at my relationship with God.

    • Tanya 6th October, 2012 at 5:01 pm #

      Ah – the cunning disguise of righteous indignation! I know it well… Thanks so much for sharing today – lovely to see you on here!

  5. Jenna 5th October, 2012 at 7:30 pm #

    Wow, Tanya. This hit so close to home today. Goodness, girl.

    • Tanya 6th October, 2012 at 4:59 pm #

      Thank you, Jenna. It hit me too…
      Lovely to see you again. X

  6. Joy Lenton 5th October, 2012 at 2:56 pm #

    What a beautiful picture of the Father’s heart of love and what a great challenge to us all in asking ourselves how far we may be straying from His Presence – almost without noticing that we have done so. It challenged me a lot today. I am so aware of my limited energy and strength competing with the drive to connect with people through social media. This timely post helped me to appreciate its potential for time-wasting, the seductive appeal to be approved of and liked that can lead to deception, and the draining affect it has on mind and emotions if we allow it to eat into the time needed to speak with and listen to our Lord. Thanks, Tanya.

    • Tanya 5th October, 2012 at 6:49 pm #

      Thanks so much for taking the time to write this thoughtful response. i like the way you analyse the various dangers of the internet and Twitter- these are things that I always need to watch as well. It’s always slightly comforting to discover someone else in the same position! THank you, friend.

  7. Nikki 5th October, 2012 at 2:24 pm #

    Oh yes. I’m convinced distractions are the enemy’s greatest weapon. Of course, my grandmother taught me fear was merely a distraction….

    I digress.

    This post was beautiful. Tanya. Thought-provoking. And full of grace all wrapped into one! Loved it…

    • Tanya 5th October, 2012 at 6:47 pm #

      Thanks, fellow grace-lover. šŸ™‚

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