God is at work during our rebellion, and I am an example of that. After college I moved away from home and dropped out of church. I would only attend church when I visited my parents. In a spiritual sense it was a low point in my life. I was attempting to find my way without God’s guidance.
This went on for about two years until I was laid off from my job and returned to my hometown. There God reconnected me to the church. I had taken a couple years off, but God didn’t take a break. He was working on my heart the whole time. Now I saw new meaning in worship and was growing spiritually again. Perhaps you have had a similar experience in your life. Or maybe you are drifting away from the Lord now and the Holy Spirit is calling you back.
God Was Working on the Prodigal
The Lord was at work in the life of the prodigal son even when he was running away from God’s plan for his life. Luke 15:12A man had two sons. 12 The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.’ So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons. 13 “A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living.
What the son did not know was his money would run out and when it did, he would be so desperate he would hire himself out to feed pigs. That would have been a very low position in society and especially for a Jew. God would use this time of feeding pigs to draw this wayward son back to Him. In his desperation, he came to his senses and the Holy Spirit was able to get through to his heart. God indeed was at work to create a humble and repentant heart in the son.
Adversity Gets Our Attention
When adversity comes, we are forced to face problems and pressures that are too big for us to resolve. In this way, God gets our attention. We can’t continue to pursue our dreams, goals, and relationships in the same manner. We must humble ourselves and ask God for help. This was what God did in the life of the prodigal son. Luke 14: 11 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. 
God used the prodigal son’s rebellion to humble him and bring him to repentance. Thus God saved him from his own destruction. In the end of the story his father celebrates his return from being spiritually dead. Luke 15:32 We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!
To hear how God is at work during our rebellion, listen here:
[1-3 Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation . Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.