The Descent into Darkness
Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
- Luke 15:13-16
If you’ve ever watched VH-1’s “Behind the Music” you know where this story is going.
The younger son flees the nest and runs to a place where the rules no longer seem to apply. He lives a wild life. He’s living the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle that unravels as his resources unravel.
Fun dissipates. Friends disappear. He goes from being independently wealthy to needing to work and discovers he has no skills and no access to networks that could help him find work. He lacks both financial and relational capital.
And so he ends up with a miserable job, a job that disgusts him. For a Jewish man to feed pigs would be humiliating. To be jealous of their room and board, that’s a whole new low.
The younger son wasn’t just humiliated; he was also cheated. The man who hired him to feed the pigs apparently didn’t pay him or feed him. Far from home, the younger son is truly lost.
The descent into darkness can be slow and gradual. When it picks up steam, it seems like it can’t be stopped. One of Hemingway’s characters described his experience of going bankrupt like this:
“How did you go bankrupt?” Bill asked.
"Two ways," Mike said. "Gradually and then suddenly."
Who do you know who’s on the descent into darkness; gradually or suddenly slipping onto painful or humiliating paths? Ask the Lord today to show mercy to them and draw them back to the light. And if that person is you, ask the Lord to give you the wisdom, power and courage to change course.