Jesus told the story of a young man who asked his father for his future inheritance and then bolted. For a while, life was good. He indulged his desires. Booze. Women. Parties. Jesus said that this young man “wasted all of his money in wild living” (Luke 15:13). But when his wealth vanished, so did his friends. His story illustrates Proverbs 22:3: “A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.”

A famine devastated the land where the young man was living. He had to get a job, but the only employment available was farm work. His boss tasked him with feeding the pigs. The young man was hungry as he watched the pigs gobble their meals. Then, “he finally came to his senses” (Luke 15:17). He remembered that the hired workers at his father’s home always had full stomachs. So the young man left his job and went back to his father’s house humbled and apologetic.

In pursuit of a better, more rewarding life, we sometimes take risks and make decisions that don’t work out well. Like the young man in Jesus’ story, we may overlook potential problems or insist on going our own way. If our plans fail, excitement fades to disappointment. The opportunity that was supposed to make life better results in pain.

In her book The Best Yes, Lysa TerKeurst says, “No matter what wrong thing has happened, there is a right next thing to do.” Often, our next steps should include accepting the humility that comes with our circumstances and the comfort that comes from our heavenly Father. He says, “I restore the crushed spirit of the humble and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts” (Isaiah 57:15).

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Acts 10:1-23