“A certain man had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood. And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with riotous living. But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want. Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed the swine. And he would have loved to fill his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything. But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.’ And he arose and came to his father. But when his Father was still a great distance away, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But his father said to his servant, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring out the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to celebrate” (Luke 15: 11 – 24.)
In this parable, the Father represents God, and the son represents every sinner who has wandered away from Him. The ‘far country’ is figurative of the life of sin that many engage in when they turn away from the Lord. The Sons return to his father symbolizes the act of repentance and rebirth that accompanies salvation. In this passage, the prodigal son misjudges his father’s response to his return; believing he will be treated as a servant rather than a son. Much to his surprise, he is lovingly embraced and honored. The father is so overjoyed that he immediately orders the household to begin celebrating the occasion.
Many years ago, prior to my conversion, I was actively abusing drugs and living in sin. My family suffered greatly as they saw me spiraling downward. My dad lived in a state of perpetual fear; not knowing when he would be informed of my death or incarceration. Eventually I got sober, got a job, and gave my life to Jesus Christ. Because I had been received, reborn, and embraced by my heavenly Father, my earthly father had gotten his son back as well. My dad told me, “Out of all of your siblings, you are the one I worry about the least.” On my wedding day, he looked at me with fondness and said, “You are my miracle.”
Although earthly dads often possess great love for their children, God is far more affectionate. He loves even the worst sinners. The magnitude of His fondness is immeasurable. He tirelessly seeks the lost, and is always ready to receive those who have wandered away. May we share that same love; may we share that same heart; and may we continue to search for and embrace those who need to know the love of their Heavenly Father.
“Almighty God, Everlasting Father, we are amazed at the enormity of Your love. We are astonished by the depths of Your mercy and grace. Fill us with Your desires, that we may share Your heart and seek those who have wandered away. We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name. Amen.” God bless all of you.