Luke 15 tells us a parable of a prodigal son. This one hits me in the gut in several ways.
A son thinks his home is boring and imagines there are places beyond his home that are grander and certainly more fun than hanging out with his brother and dad. He demands his inheritance and announces his plan to flee the cage he believes he is in.
His father gives it to him and the son skips off merrily with stars in his eyes and ideas of big adventures.
Life takes a lot out of you when you try to live bigger than you ever have. Pride takes even more from you when you think you are entitled to more you were given. When that’s the way you choose to live, you will find yourself flat on your face. Pockets and spirit emptied and broken.
The son decides after taking any odd job that he could find for a scrap of food, that he will go back home and beg his father’s forgiveness and offer to be a servant. Because that’s far better living than what he is doing now.
So he walks that long road back home rehearsing his plea over and over. Oh….what a walk that must be to return broken to what you had previously declared you were too good for.
His father saw him from a distance and ran to his son. Embracing him, crying tears of joy and declaring there would be a party because his son had finally come home.
Talk about a plot twist for that young man.
When I was younger I was that young man (except I was a girl) and repeatedly ran from my home where I felt angry, misunderstood or just rebellious. I took that long road home many times rehearsing my lines.
As I got older I walked that same road away from my Heavenly Father and still kept distance from my “home.” Some of it was situational and some of it was stubbornness. Most of it was because I believed I would be unwanted, unloved and everyone would laugh at my pitiful lines of repentance.
God especially. Since He had seen everything I had done and thought. He’d never want or embrace someone who had run from Him and then fell face first in the muck.
I finally got so far down in my life, I had two choices: give up on life entirely or I could look up and beg to be let back “home.”
Obviously I am still here, so you can see what my choice was. I chose to beg forgiveness and the strangest thing happened. He didn’t just allow me in but make me sit in the corner. He threw me a party. Prayers were answered (not always the way I wanted, but now I see them in hindsight as blessings) Blessings were given. I wasn’t permitted to come home….I was welcomed with love and forgiveness unconditionally.
So, I’ve learned something about this God of ours; He doesn’t care how much you messed up or will continue to mess up. He wants and desires you to call out to Him as you would your Father. No matter how many times you run away, He grieves until you come back. You can’t be too bad for Him to love you unconditionally. There is no waiting line or cost to pay. The price was paid through His son, because He just loves you that much.