In this life I have messed up, fallen down, and allowed sin to get a grip on my life. I say things I shouldn’t to others, then kick my self around with regret and guilt. I will have a whole conversation in my head about how I should apologize, what I should or shouldn’t say, and how they will respond.
A few things I never expect is for that person to hug me or throw me a party. Yet, as we look at the prodigal son this is exactly what his father did when he returned home. (Luke 15:17-24)
The world beyond the prodigal’s home beckoned for him to come take a look around. Much like today, the world paints a beautiful picture of ‘fun’. It doesn’t show us the reality behind the scenes – the pigpens or the plan the enemy has to wrap us up so tightly in the bondage of sin that freedom feels impossible.
As we look further into the life of the prodigal son, we find him broke and in a pigpen. While feeding the pigs he thinks about how he would gladly eat the same things they were eating. During this time he came to his senses and thought about how even his fathers servants ate better than this. He starts home with many thoughts about what he would say to his father, never imagining his father would still be waiting and watching for him to return. His father saw him while he was still a long ways off, and runs to his son – hugging him even though he was dirty with the smell of pigpen still on him. The son had taken the money his father had given him, spent it on all sorts of wasteful ways, living it up with friends he thought he had, until he was broke.
Not only did his father hug him, he had the very best robe brought out to put on him. Then he had the servants kill a calf and not just any calf, but the best calf in honor of the return of his son.
I am so thankful that we also have a Father that never gives up on us – no matter how many times we fall. He is always there to pick us up, hug us, and dust us off. Just like the prodigal son’s father, He allows us to make our own choices – even the bad ones – and yet He is always waiting with arms open wide because He loves us so much more than we can imagine.
The prodigal son left to pursue the best the world had to offer only to find the world’s best was lacking. Our best life will always be found in the arms of our loving Father.