One of my favorite stories, ever, is the story of the prodigal son. There has always been something about how that father allowed his son the freedom to make some lousy decisions, but he never gave up on him. He didn’t leave him in the pig pen, broke, starving, and filthy, both physically and spiritually. The son squanders everything and is completely desperate.
The father’s response gets me every time. The son has it in his mind that he’ll go home, beg for forgiveness, and work to earn his spot in his father’s house again. However, the father wants nothing to do with that plan. Unknown to his son, the father has been waiting for him to come back. I can picture him getting up every day (before dawn), if he even sleeps at all, and heading to the end of his road and waiting. I envision him praying for his son, unwavering. I can picture him staying out all day, and not going home until it is long after dark. He does this every day, the entire time his son is gone. Nothing is more important to the father than being there when his son comes home. He waits. And waits. Patiently. Never gives up.
And this is my favorite part: “And while he (the son) was a long way off, the father ran to him” and welcomed him home. The son couldn’t even get his plan out of his mouth before the father, bursting with emotion, pride, and excitement, hurries him home, all along the way telling his servants to plan a party for his son, who was dead and is alive again. He gave his son a hero’s welcome, when he deserved to be left alone to learn from his mistakes.
God is this Father to His children. I am constantly blown away by how nothing is more important than welcoming a lost child home. He never leaves us in our low spots. He never leaves us broken. And while we’re still a long way off, thinking of what we are going to say, He runs to us and throws His arms around us. He throws a party. He never mentions the fortune we’ve wasted. He never reminds us of the wrong choices we’ve made. He just wraps us up and welcomes us home.
“You can try to fix your broken empire, put bricks on your cracked foundation. But you’d still be building castles on the sand. There’s power in the blood of Jesus. Your Father’s screaming “Just COME HOME” and He’s reaching out His hands.
I know you’ve been running, searching for something, but you’re looking in a place you don’t belong. It’s never too late. You can’t out run grace, no, mercy doesn’t care what you’ve done. Come home.”