About five years ago, I read Tim Keller’s Prodigal God and, for the first time, saw the parable of the prodigal in Luke 15 as a story of not one, but two lost sons. I learned more about the elder brother: how his “goodness” and striving, his bitterness and self-importance, kept him from a relationship with his loving father.
A few years later, I found myself struggling with “elder brother” anger and bitterness. We had moved many times - from Texas to China to Texas to California - trying to be faithful to God’s calling on our lives. When it became clear that another move was on the horizon, and things were not easy, I became angry with God. I didn’t necessarily say it out loud, but I was functionally thinking “God, we scratched your back, now you scratch ours! God, we have been faithful and have given up so much for you…Is this what we get?” It was pretty ugly.
But guess what? God comes out to meet both sons! He does not wait for us to fix ourselves up, but He moves toward us with blood-bought grace and undeserved love. He runs out to meet us. And He can do this because there is a Son that has already paid down our debt. We don't need to earn it. We don't need to deserve it.
God, in His mercy, led me to a place of grief over my sin. I realized that I had been functionally living as if I was an employee of God, with a mentality of earning and striving. I had not been living as a daughter of God with an attitude of godly submission and trust. I began to write this song from that place.