We can all identify with the Prodigal.
We may not have made it all the way to the pigpen, but there are parts of his story with which we nod and say “Been there, done that.”
To some the common thread is impatience. It’s all coming your way … someday. It’s just not soon enough. Can’t wait for what has been Dad’s to become mine. Tomorrow is way out there. I’m living for today.
Others lived out the quest to explore the ‘dark side’ … to taste things unfamiliar to the palate. There are some wild oats that beg to be sown someplace far from home … things better kept from the authority figures in our lives.
And there are some who lived under the shadow of an older or stronger sibling. There was always a comparison being made … you’re less intelligent, less motivated, not as attractive. Somewhere there would be a spotlight just for you!
Some don’t really identify with the Prodigal until the latter part of his story. The ultimate decimation of pride and assurance … the sickening realization of total poverty of resources … the deep hunger, not only for food, but for real friends again. The pigpen describes where some currently find themselves or shudder to remember all too vividly.
And then there are those whose path didn’t lead down. Just away
There were no broken relationships. No impatience for what wasn’t theirs yet. No moral slide or acute hunger or fickle friends. No regrets for personal failure or terrible choices.
They just miss home and what it held for them. Physical death or distance has moved them down the road from where their sweetest memories reside.
But the common denominator to all who find identification with the Prodigal is simply … Father. The One who provided the security, secured the future and never stopped loving. The One with open arms (and a second chance if needed) when you turned up the long driveway to the life you now realize how much you miss.
None of us has done anything to deserve a Father’s love. Not that kind of love.
But this week take great delight and comfort in the fact that there is welcome, open arms and forgiveness at the end of any journey we’ve been on. The Father always is smiling when we make our way back home.
“So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off,
his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion,
he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.”
Luke 15:20 New Living Translation
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