Summary: Whether you have a prodigal child, were a prodigal child or know a prodigal child, this books on the heart break of loving a prodigal and what it teaches us about God loving us is a must read.
Right up front I have to disclose that I know Dan Mayhew (the author) and his wife Jody. I have been aware of the roots of what this book is talking about for the past decade or so since I first met them. I have not ever met their son, but I have frequently prayed for him and the family.
So maybe I am tainted in my opinion, but the reality of a parent writing about their love of a child, and the corresponding pain of watching a child struggle through bad decisions, addiction, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (after serving in Iraq), homelessness, suicide attempts, etc., is powerful stuff.
This is a heartbreaking, but hopeful book. Hopeful, because the father is always wanting the best for his son, but even more hopeful because he is continually reflecting back on his own relationship as a prodigal with God. But the book is still heartbreaking because I read about the ongoing pain. This is not a book that has a solution. There is no ending, the son is still a prodigal.
Honestly, I have no real words to describe the book. I am still shaken by the reality that it describes. But I do hope others read it. I think many parents would benefit from seeing another family walk through the struggle of a prodigal. And I think many children (whether you were a prodigal or not) need to read it to help understand a parent’s love for them. For me the biggest reminder is the quote from Luke 11:13, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give…to those who ask Him?”