There is a story in the bible called “The parable of the Lost Son.” You can find this story in Luke 15:11-32.
This story is about a father and two sons. The younger one asked his father for his inheritance, but that is not what fascinates me the most about the story. What I find the most attractive is the way the father responds to every request from his son. I have divided the verse into sections to fully describe and understand the fathers side of this story.
The younger one said to his Father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ so he divided his property between them. -Luke 15:12 NIV
In that verse it doesn’t say anything about the father asking the son why he wanted this. It just says that the father divided his property between them. This reminds me of all the times we go to God and ask him to do something, and without questions he does it. He doesn’t sit there and say “Well Daisy, why would you want me to do that? What makes you think I am going to do that?” I don’t know but I think sometimes God answers those absurd requests to give us a lesson. I can be wrong, but sometimes we need that little shake in our lives to understand that we are asking for the wrong things.
The verse then goes on saying;
Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there he squandered his wealth in wild living. -Luke 15:13
Just like us, he grabbed what was “his” and left to live the life he thought was going to make him happy. We often grab all the blessings that the lord hands us, and just walk away. We walk away from him, we walk away from his love, his support, his care, because now we have what we wanted. Then just like this son, we go and lose all we have for a moment of satisfaction, for a moment of “living life”, for a moment of party, for a moment of what this world offers. What amazes me the most is that never in the story, does it say that the father tried to stop him. It never mentions that the father questioned him, or asked him where he was going. The father allowed him to walk away and God does the same. We are not captive under him, we have the freedom to make our choices.
A few verses down, after he had LOST everything he had, the bible tells us that the son realized what he had done.
When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ So he got up and went to his father. -Luke 15:17-20
The son finally realized what he had done. He had given away all his blessings to this world. He had taken his father for granted and had lived the life he thought was best for him. He realized that living under his fathers household was better than living alone.
Time after time, we do the same. We go out into the world, full of strength provided by our father, we let his hand go and walk on our own. Until we discover that doing life on our own is not easy. It’s hard and its not rewarding.
In this verse we don’t know what the father was doing but in the next one, we will see the love and patience that this father had for his son.
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. The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ -Luke15:20-21
I just have to say WOW!! When I read this part of the story I can just imagine this father, day after day, going outside his home just waiting to see if his son was coming back. I can picture him with his hands close to his chest, full of patience and full of love for his son. The verse says that he saw him and he was still a long way off. Then it says that the father ‘threw his arms around him,’ before the son even said a word.
I think that after a few minutes of sobbing and hugging the son was finally able to apologize. However, not once does the father question him. Doesn’t ask him why he left, what he did with all the money, why he was back. The father just took him back and forgave him.
If I was the father, I would have a million questions and I would just make him feel so bad for doing what he did.
But just like that father, God awaits for us with open arms. No questions, just forgiveness and compassion. Without even saying a word, he knows our hearts and forgives us the moment we come back to him. The moment we take that “walk of shame” back to his arms.
Instead of scolding the son and teaching him a lesson and saying “I told you so,” the Father has a celebration. Believe it or not, he celebrated his son coming back.
But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate. -Luke 15:22-24
‘They began to celebrate.’ God celebrates the moment we walk back to him. No matter how many times we fail him, without questioning us, he takes our hearts back. That is the father we are blessed to have. We are blessed to have a father that shows us love, forgiveness and whole lot of patience.
He doesn’t need explanations, he doesn’t need an ‘I am sorry father’, he just needs for us to walk back to him. He is waiting with this abundant love for us, waiting for our return.
I know this story is a very well known story, but I think that most times we focus on the son and how he left and came back; but we don’t focus on the father and what he does. This story continues with the older sons reaction to the celebration. Which in most cases we fall into both categories. We are the son that leaves but we are also the son that stays. The fathers reaction to the older son is not very different, but that will be part of the next blog.