Sunday, September 3, 2023


By Bob Prichard
    I read of a Victorian era lady who arranged her library so that no books by male authors were placed beside books by female authors (unless they were married, of course). I’m not exactly sure what she thought those books might do, but it does seem that books do take up more and more shelf space! Keeping up with my books is a big job. I try to treat my personal library like any other real library, with the books accessioned, classified, and properly cataloged. It takes time to process books though, so many sit on the shelf wherever I happen to find the space (irrespective of the author’s sex) until I process them. Two books recently caught my eye.
    Sitting next to each other on the shelf, ready to be fully processed were The Hurried Child, by David Elkind, and The Waiting Father, by Helmut Thielicke.  Elkind’s book is about our fast paced, stress filled society that hurries our children to grow up too quickly. Thielicke’s book is a series of sermons on the parables, with the title taken from two sermons on what we usually call the “Prodigal Son.”
    The two titles juxtaposed on the shelf reminded me how the pace of our world today causes too many of us to become a “hurried child.” We are not so much hurried to grow up, but to just keep pace with the world swirling around us. We may be too hurried to remember God. How often do we really find the time for serious prayer and communication with our heavenly father? Most of us, it seems, keep such a pace doing our work, keeping up the house, preparing meals, chauffeuring to soccer practice, and doing so, so many other things. Where do we find time for the “Waiting Father”?
    Thielicke portrays the Father watching the son leave, and then waiting expectantly:

“I imagine that as he stands there in silence a deep affliction shadows his face and that in itself is eloquent. I am sure he is not thinking that the boy will grow more mature in the far country. He is asking the anxious question: How will he come back?


The father will keep the son in his thoughts.  He will wait for him and never stop watching for him. Every step he takes will give him pain. For the father knows better than this son who sets out, happy and lighthearted on his chosen life. But the voice of his father in his heart will follow him wherever he goes.”

    We do not have to go to the far country of the prodigal to be away from the Father. We can simply get too busy for him. “For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not. But ye said, No; for we will flee upon horses; therefore shall ye flee: and, We will ride upon the swift; therefore shall they that pursue you be swift. … And therefore will the LORD wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the LORD is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him” (Isaiah 30:15-18).

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