A few days ago I read the parable in Luke 15 about the prodigal son and I was brought to tears. If you don’t know this passage, you can read it here. I love when the son is embraced by his father and how he is so excited that his son is safe and sound. He loved him so much and no matter what he chose to do, his father was so rejoiced to see him again. It is an amazing parallel of how truly our God loves us. No matter what we may have done, He loves us, He’s waiting for us, His arms were open wide and He is ready to shower us with His love.
There are three characters in the parable, the father, and the older and younger son. We read about all the younger son has chosen to do and the mistakes and sinful desires he chose to live out. He used up all his inheritance and realized that he wasted all he had and was living with less than even the servants in his father’s home lived. Mistakes most of us would judge and lack compassion for. However, as a parent, I understand the compassion the father has for his younger son and can completely understand the father’s response to his return. He was so overwhelmed with joy, it didn’t matter what he did, he rejoiced because he was found. He loved him without judgement, without him being deserving, he just loved him.
I thought about this type of love during our worship time on Sunday. We sang the song. Forever Reign by Hillsong with the chorus that says “Oh, I’m running to Your arms, I’m running to Your arms, the riches of your love, will always be enough. Nothing compares to Your embrace, Light of the world forever reign.” Just like a young child runs to meet his mom or dad when they return home, we are able to run to our father the same way. Run into His loving arms. Run to the ONE who paid the ultimate price for us. Open arms of love, compassion, joy and forgiveness.
At the end of the passage when the older son approached his father and I again teared up. He went to his father and was just completely angry and hurt that his younger brother who didn’t fall all the rules was now being celebrated. So often I can understand the older son’s point of view. I’ve always been someone that tries to do the best I can and follow the rules and sometimes, it feels as if following the rules doesn’t pay off. Yes, I have a good conscience most of the time, but I see those around me making unwise choices, yet seem to prosper in my eyes. Don’t we all do that at some times? We think we are deserving of love or attention or praise, but really we are not. Yes, we are called to listen and obey and I truly believe the rewards in heaven we will receive will be far greater than the rewards and praise we will receive here on earth. We don’t deserve anything, but our God lovingly will give to us in ways we don’t even know.
Th last two verses in the passage is when the tears hit again. Read it below.
31 “My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’
Did you catch that? The father said to his son, “you are always with me.” The older son thought he was being overlooked, but the father knew he was right there. He knew he could count on him. He knew that his older son would do all he could do to serve and do as he should. He didn’t have to worry about the older son because he was making choices that were good, right and obedient.
So, for those of us that are striving to do what is right, you are loved. You are seen and noticed and appreciated. You may not see the recognition or praise, but you are appreciated, loved and allowing room for those who need that extra love and forgiveness to receive what they need. Our father knows our heart, he knows our motives and He knows our love. Rest in HIS amazing love and be comforted that you are seen and you are loved.