“And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.”
—Luke 15:20 ESV
Many of us know the story commonly called “The Prodigal Son.” A father had two sons. We know little else about the family, except that one day the younger son asked his father for his share of the inheritance (a serious insult) and went “into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living.” (Luke 15:13 ESV).
Shortly after running out of money, a great famine struck the land and the young man began to go hungry. He got a job taking care of pigs, but he “became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him” (Luke 15:16a NLT).
Finally he came to his senses and decided to return to his father’s house where “even the hired servants [had] food enough to spare” (Luke 15:17 NLT). He prepared the apology he planned to address to his father and began the journey home.
And this is where the story takes an unexpected turn.
It would seem natural for the father to be beside himself with anger when he learned that his son was returning home, but that’s not what happened.
The father in the story (representing God) did not stay in his house seething with anger but instead, moved with compassion, rushed out to meet his son while he was still far off.
That is good news for us.
You see, each of us is that younger son from time to time. On an almost daily basis, the pressures of life take us away from that place of rest in the presence of our Father and lead us to do things on our own, unaware of God and distant from him.
How good it is to know that God does not wait for us to solve our problems on our own, but as soon as we make the decision to return home he rushes out to meet us.
How would you pray if you knew that God isn’t angry with you but that he is waiting for you with open arms?
Here is a short prayer that you can carry with you in your comings and goings today:
Breathe in: Father,
Breathe out: I’m coming home.