I’ve always loved the parable of the Prodigal Son. I’ve been able to identify with so many parts of that story throughout my life. I’ve taken my spiritual inheritance, ran off and squandered it before. I’ve come to the end of my rope and realized that the Father still has enough grace to call me His son even when I didn’t deserve it. I’ve even been the son who stayed home and was upset at how those who’ve returned home have flourished and been blessed.
When we read that, I think many of us are somewhere in that story. Some of us are on that journey away from home. All we have known is a Christian life and we somehow think we will find true happiness outside the confines of Christianity. We take what we’ve been given and throw it away. We live how we want to live. How we think we’re supposed to live. I can tell you just like the Prodigal Son could, it comes to an end at some point. There comes a time when all of that catches up and it’s not fun anymore. What was once freedom becomes a cage.
I know. I know. It’s not going to happen to you. Somehow you are different. You can do this on your own. Since the beginning, that is the lie we have all believed. Adam and Eve believed they could do it without God. Genesis 3:6 says that Eve was convinced and she wanted the wisdom that the fruit could give her. She wanted to get it on her own without God. Everything that God had given them was taken away for believing that lie.
The Prodigal believed it too. He figured he could take what was rightfully his and do better with it than his father could. As soon as it was all gone, there was a famine. Pride kept him from going home. He tried to stick it out as long as he could. He finally got so miserable that he had no pride left. He didn’t even see himself as a son anymore. There have been times where I haven’t seen myself as a son either. Where I did what I could to survive. It was miserable.
Thank God for His grace. He, like the father in the story, is patiently waiting for our return. He isn’t there to say, “I told you so.” No. He’s there to say, “I love you and I’ve missed you. Welcome home, child.” That’s the heart of the God we serve. He doesn’t sit and plot revenge on you for leaving. He sits and looks for your return so He can embrace you and call you His once again. He wants you safely in His arms where you belong.
So, where are you in this story? Have you left? Are you out having the time of your life not realizing what’s coming? Are you in that desperate place trying to figure out a way home so that you will be accepted again? Maybe you’re home now contemplating leaving. I can tell you that wherever you are in this story, God sees you. He knows where you are. Don’t believe the lies that take you away or keep you away. There is freedom in Him. There is joy in Him. There is security in Him. It’s time to come home and be His child once again.