“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him…”
The blessing of knowing that you cannot save yourself is recognizing that there is Someone who is waiting for you. While everything in us desires to provide solutions for ourselves, the reality is that there is only One who can give us life. As much as we might seek it through other means, those things do not satisfy.
Isn’t that the reality of the prodigal son? He sought life through all kinds of indulgence, only to find himself sitting in the place of a hired hand, desiring the food he gave to pigs. Empty. Hungry. Out of resources. Out of ideas. except when he thought of home. He knew that his father’s servants were treated better than his present circumstances, and so he turned home.
Are we not all prodigals in this way? We seek life in different ways on our own. So subtle and potentially deceiving, each of us has our favorite coping mechanisms. It’s easy to be consumed with planning, doing things in the right way, avoiding whatever pain or discomfort we could encounter, as though we really can control all of the circumstances around us.
I love this truth:
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him…
He ran to his son, threw his arms around him, and kissed him.”
For the father to have seen him meant that he was watching, hoping. Instead of the punishing lecture or shaming taunts that one could imagine welling up inside, the father felt compassion for him. No “I told you so” or recriminations of any kind. Just the pure love of seeing someone who was thought dead prompted the biggest celebration. “I am just so happy to see you!” is the father’s response.
The blessing of the prodigal was twofold: in his realization of the poverty of his choices and in his recognition of his father’s nature.
“God has limited His rule in the human heart to the consent of each person.” Chuck Lawless, John Franklin
God is like the father of the prodigal, always watching, always hoping. He is waiting for the moment when we come to our senses and head for home. He will not force us to turn to Him. He wants us to come on our own.
Our blessing is also twofold. If we are truthful, we have to acknowledge that our own ways do not satisfy. In so doing, recognizing the nature of our Father in heaven– so generous, so loving, so ready to forgive– makes heading for “home” the destination of choice. No matter where we are, He is waiting for us to come and be with Him. He is waiting to say to you and me, “Welcome home!”
“The Lord longs to be gracious to you; He rises to show you compassion.”
What stories or images from the Bible give you hope for what you’re facing today?