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  • Writer's pictureLynn Holzinger

When Your Prodigal Hasn't Returned

Updated: Feb 23, 2020

(Photo by Fabrizio Verrecchia on Unsplash)

His mother said to the servants, "Whatever He says to you, do it."

John 2:5

This morning as I was reading John 2:1-11, God showed me something I had not seen before.

When Jesus' mother, Mary, came and told Jesus the wine had run out, how does Jesus respond? "Dear woman, that's not our problem; my time has not yet come." It sounds like He had no intention of fixing the problem. Did Mary say, "okay," and walk away? Did she say, "Why not?" or any number of other things one might say when it sounds like they are not going to get what they want? No, she looked at the servants and said, "Do whatever He tells you to do."

I started imagining what was going on in Mary's mind. Since she was at the wedding, she was most likely friends of the family. Possibly, these were people she cared about deeply. She wanted Jesus to fix the problem and save the bridegroom and his family the embarrassment that would go along with running out of wine too early in the wedding festivities. Did Mary know Jesus could? I'm not sure how much she knew, but if she remembered what the angel had told her, she knew her son was the Son of God, and that His kingdom would never end (Luke 1:33-35). She must have known He could do something.

She didn't tell Him what to do, but she didn't give up either. She said, "Do whatever He tells you to do." I thought, isn't that a picture of how we can pray? We tell Jesus our loved one has walked away from their faith. And since we care deeply for this person, we don't give up when nothing has happened yet, but instead, we say, "Lord, do whatever it is You're going to do."

If Mary hadn't told Jesus the wine ran out or if she didn't instruct the servants to do whatever Jesus told them to do, would He have performed the miracle? Did Jesus respond because she trusted Him to do the right thing? Obviously, we know that God had a plan that He carried out. But is there a divine mystery between God's plan and how He responds when we tell Him our dilemma, and then trust Him to do something about it?

I don't think Mary would have ever suggested that miracle. "Jesus, maybe you could turn the water into wine, and then everything will be great." She had no idea what Jesus would do, but she trusted Him to do something.

What did Mary do? She:

  • Told Jesus the problem

  • She persisted when it didn't look like Jesus would do anything

  • She didn't demand, but she left it in Jesus' hands as to what to do

  • She got out of the way

I like Mary's tenacity and persistence. I think God likes it when we are tenacious and persistent, and we don't give up just because we haven't seen the answer yet. God knows how much we love our prodigal, and we must never forget that He loves them even more than we do.

Let us be like Mary, and when it seems like God is not doing what we want Him to do, we tell Him to do what He wants to do. Then we get out of the way.

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