The Prodigal Father

(Photo by Selma Komisky)

The Prodigal Father

By Kyle Jane Heskett

“…But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.”

– Luke 15:20 (NIV)

Have you ever been afraid to tell your parents you did something wrong? Maybe you got caught disobeying them or have felt guilty about things you’ve done. Then you can relate to the story of the prodigal son. In Luke 15, a father gives both his sons equal inheritance. One son leaves his home and squanders all his money. He was left hungry and alone. Once he realizes the weight of his mistakes, he journeys back home. He was not expecting to be given the status he once had, but perhaps to be as a servant. At least he wouldn’t go hungry.

Many of us can relate to this son. But to me, this story really isn’t about him. I think it is about the father. It paints a beautiful picture of God’s love. The prodigal father was betrayed by his son. His son was ungrateful for his inheritance and put his family to shame. Any yet, he welcomes his son home with open arms. Verse 20 says the father had compassion on him. He was so overjoyed his son came back. Can you just picture the father racing through an open field, perhaps lifting up his robes from the ground so he could run to his beloved son faster? Can you picture his tears of joy when he finally gets to embrace his son once more?

This is how our Heavenly Father embraces us when we return to Him. In Luke 15:4-6, Jesus says “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’” This is the heart of the Father. This is what His love is all about.

Not only did the prodigal father embrace his son, but he brought him the best robe and had a feast in his honor! I hate to admit it, but I might have reacted like the other son who became angry and jealous that a celebration was being held for his prodigal brother. But when I think about all the times I have forgotten about God or disobeyed Him, I then think of all the times He has accepted me back and poured His love out on me. Just like the prodigal son, I don’t deserve this love and I certainly didn’t earn it. And yet my Heavenly Father calls me to accept it.

The love of God is lavish. It is rich and extravagant. Can you picture the Heavenly Father wrapping His arms around you when you confess your sins to Him? Can you picture Him pursuing you even when you go astray? Just like the prodigal father, our Heavenly Father longs to pour out His love on His children.