"But when he came to himself, he said, 'How many of my father's hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger!’"
Jesus told the parable of the Prodigal Son. This story resonates in our hearts; it strikes a chord deep inside of us, because we know He’s talking about us. Each one of us would say, “He’s talking about me!”
We rebel against the love of our Heavenly Father, reject His rules, resent His plans for our life, demand our independence - and still expect Him to give us everything we feel we have coming, as though it were ours by some kind of natural right.
And God, because of His loving nature, gives it to us. He doesn’t hold back, even though He certainly could. And the whole while we are wasting His gifts on our own pleasure, He waits, with all the longing of a father who yearns for His child to return.
Many of us know what that feels like from the parents’ perspective. It’s part of God’s mercy that He allows us to experience this. We get a glimpse of the Father’s heart as we walk through the experience of a child who has turned his or her back and gone away. Is there any pain that cuts so deep?
The day the son in the parable returned, his father was waiting by the front door, his eyes searching the horizon for any sign of his son. He saw him when he was still far off and ran to meet him. How many days had the father spent there? How many late nights?
Our heavenly Father knows what you are going through as you wait and pray for that loved one. He understands the longing of your heart, and He listens as you cry to Him. In fact, what you feel is a reflection of the pain in His own heart.
Just as He once waited for you and me, and just as we found Him ready to forgive, so it will be with that child. The moment we come to our senses and remember the Father’s love we find Him waiting, full of forgiveness.
Father, we lift up our children and grandchildren to You. Many have turned their back, hardened their heart and gone away. The rebellion that is in our hearts and the deceitful call of sinful pleasure has blinded them. In Your mercy let Your Word, hidden in their hearts so long ago, be stirred up so that they come to themselves and return to You. Your timing is perfect, Father, so we entrust them to your loving care, in Jesus‘ name. Amen.
Pastor Dan Giles