The weight of God’s love is at times almost more than I can bear. I know me…and to think that the Lord of all creation would even allow me to draw air into my lungs amazes me. The fact that He sent His perfect, blameless Son to be nailed to a cross rightly intended for me, is just one more of thousands of examples of His love demonstrated to me. But when I consider the words of Jesus in Luke 15 (the prodigal son) I see myself, as most of us do, in this wayward son. The ‘cup’ of every prodigal is bitter indeed, but if and when we return to the Father in repentance and submission, our gracious Heavenly Father exchanges that ‘cup’ for a robe and a ring. Amazing love… fellowship is restored!
The very demand of the son for his portion was akin to saying to his father, “I see you as being as good as dead to me; give me what’s coming to me and I’ll be on my way.” If my son said that to me, I would be crushed to the core! How must it feel when every child of The Father has, to some degree, said or done, that very thing? Lord reveal this in my life if I am found in this place.
Jesus says in Luke 15:13, “And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.” There was a time after years of walking with the Lord, that I began to stray. I relied on previous times in the Word and in prayer to get me through. As I look back, I see that is where the downfall began. For me, the far country was presenting an outward appearance of righteous piety, but inside I was cold and distant from the Lord. It is amazing to think how many of us are seen as being what we profess to be, yet in our heart…where it really counts…we too are in “a far country”. Although others may not see it, we know where we are and our Father knows vividly.
While traveling on this desolate road of our choosing, there comes a time, if we linger, when we join ourselves to citizens of that ‘far country’. Verse 15 says, “And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.” Now what in the world would a Jewish boy be doing anywhere near pigs?!? Well, from experience in the far country myself, you find yourself doing things that, in close fellowship with the Father, you would never do. The dangers of the far country lead to stumbling in the far country, and we find ourselves longing for the safety, comfort and LOVE of home. But, the enemy would have us believe there is no going back…we have ruined it…the Father would never take us back! After what we did? After where we went? After this much time away? Never! However, this is no ordinary Father and this is no ordinary love!
There comes a time as a child of the Father when we remember how it was before. We remember the fellowship we took for granted and we long for it again. We remember the love we shared and was lavished upon us, and we long for it again. We also reminisce on areas of half-hearted commitment and want to make that right. It is at this moment that we begin to ‘come to ourselves’. For some who may be reading this right now, you may be in this place. You’re not the first one to go there beloved–don’t let this foreign country be your place of residence any longer! Let go of your fears and regrets, and allow your heart to become ‘homesick’. Allow the Lord to call you back to Himself; but come prepared. Come with a humble, repentant heart. Yes, there are feelings of unworthiness. We are unworthy! Yet His love is calling you home!
Now we come to the passage that is the definition of love in my heart. Luke 15:20 says, “And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.” As foreign as it is for a Jewish boy to hang out in a pig sty, even more so that a father, who had essentially been pronounced dead by this son, would be found running to the rebel with such forgiving love in his heart. The man would have been seen as disgracing himself, and doubly disgraced for doing it over someone who had deserted him as if he were dead! But the thing that overwhelms my heart is that the Father had been looking for the chance to run to the returning, repentant son. The Father had been scanning the horizon in anticipation of the return of the son back into the love of the Father. From our perspective we might say, “But the son turned away from his Father!” Yes, but the Father’s love is stronger than that. “But the son did despicable things while in that far away land!” Yes, but the Father’s love is stronger than that. “But the son is so unworthy of that kind of reception!” Yes, that is true, but the Father’s love is stronger than that!
Beloved if you have strayed, know that the Father is waiting to run to you and embrace you and remind you that you are His own child! Don’t let the enemy, or anyone else tell you that you are unworthy to return to the Father’s love, or that you are no longer of use to Him. Listen to what the Father is saying to you as you enter His presence with a repentant and contrite heart. ”But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither 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 be merry.” – Luke 15:22-24
Before the Lord shared this account with us, he made this statement in Luke 15:10, ”Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.” Both are remarkable statements! There is joy in the presence of angels when we are saved and there is celebrating and restored fellowship with the Father when we return to His unfathomable love! Rejoice!