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The Prodigal

I never cease to be amazed at the love God gives me. I see His constant working and moving in my life and ministry. I am so very thankful for where I am in my life right now. From the outside looking in, it may not seem that great to anyone else. But to me, it's wonderful! I've come a long, long way. God has pulled me out of the miry clay, so to speak.

If any of you have strayed from God, know that you can return to him.   Jesus shared an amazing parable in Luke 15:11-32.   The story of the prodigal son. 

A man had two sons. The younger son wanted his inheritance. There was only one problem with his plan...his dad was still alive. Every time I study this parable, I pause here. Usually when you hear a sermon or study on these Scriptures, the focus is on the son. But I put myself in the father's position. I can only imagine the hurt and pain he felt to hear his son say these things.

The son was saying to his father, I don't appreciate all of the things you have done for me. I could care less that you have provided a roof over my head, the clothes on my back and the food I eat. I don't care that you have provided ample amounts of love and caring. Ultimately, I don't care whether you live or die. So, give me the money you have set aside.

The father, so hurt by his son's lack of respect, divided to both his sons their inheritance. A few days later, the younger son packed up and moved on. He left the protection of his father's house to do what he wanted. Selfish, greedy, and “too big for his britches” as my dear grandmother would say. But his father let him go.

Think about how hard this must have been for the father. And the mother. The Scriptures don't mention her, but I can almost hear her crying as her son left; holding on to him begging him not to leave. Kissing his face, wondering if she would ever see him again. I can see her crying out to her husband to stop him. But this stoic father would not be swayed. The son's decision was his own and he'd made his choice. Now, it may seem cold for the father to let him go that way. But sometimes a cut is needed before healing can begin.

The son went on his way. He lived it up. Did the things he wanted to do, when he wanted to do it. Spent money like there was no tomorrow. The only problem with that...there was a tomorrow for this young man. When that tomorrow came, he found himself in a pig sty that belonged to his employer wishing he had some food. The most beautiful phrase in this passage to me is in verse 17. “And when he came to himself.” He woke up and realized what an idiot he'd been. He realized that his father's servants had it better than he did. They didn't go to bed hungry every night. Shoot, they even had beds!

He knew he'd hurt his father so deeply with his words and actions. He thought his father would never forgive him. In his mind, he wasn't good enough to be his father's son anymore. So he decided to go home and beg to be a servant. He rose up out of the pig sty. He must have looked horrible. Surely he wanted to go home looking his best. But now that he'd squandered all his money away, this was his best.

On his way home, he rehearsed his speech over and over. As he topped the hill, his father saw him. This is an amazing thing to me. The father was waiting for his son! I can imagine that his father had done this same thing everyday since his son left. He would go to the end of the property and look. Waiting, praying, wishing to see his son's face. When he finally did see him, I would imagine he thought he'd lost his mind and was hallucinating.

He ran with everything he had in him. He ran and practically tackled him hugging him and loving him. The son started his speech, but his father would not let him finish. He called for the servants to pull the best clothes, shoes and jewelry. His son was skinny, hungry and tired. He had probably not bathed in weeks. The father did not care. His precious son was home! He decided quickly to throw a party. He was so excited to see him. “For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.”

God loves us unconditionally. He wants to protect us, but He knows we have the free will to make our own decisions. He created us that way. He will let us go on our way and do our own thing if we want. But, when we “come to ourselves” and head home, He is waiting at the top of the hill to welcome us. Forgiving us of all transgressions. Cleaning us up and giving us the best of everything. Celebrating with joy and gladness because his child who was dead in sin is alive again. His child who was lost in trespasses has been found and restored to the Father.

Are you like this son? Have you strayed from the Father's protection to do your own thing? If so, come to your senses and head home. God is waiting.