We have all heard or read about the parable of the Prodigal Son. Where you a prodigal? Are you a prodigal? Do you have a prodigal? I was a prodigal. But it didn’t end for me the same way it did for the son in the parable.
“Jesus continued, ‘There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.’” Luke 15: 11-16 (NIV).
Now I didn’t go to my Dad and ask for my part of the estate. But I did do the best that I could to not listen or respond to the truth he was trying to pour into my life. I was the oldest and more than ready to leave home. I eventually went off to college and with my new found freedom, began to live and make choices that were probably very similar to the biblical prodigal.
Knowing what was best for me, I set off down that long, wide and costly road to destruction. Living like I had the bull by the horns while my parents prayed that I would turn back to the truth of the Gospel. I would roll my eyes and scoff, at times, when they tried to talk to me and encourage me to change the direction I was headed.
Even after college, I tried to make it look like I had it all figured out and even went through the motions of being a Christian. But I was like last year’s Easter egg, still nice on the outside but rotten in the center.
“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men 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 men.’ So he got up and went to his father. 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: 17-20 (NIV).
I would eventually come to my senses. The prodigal got to a point where he was feeding an animal that he couldn’t eat, better than he himself was able to eat. I got to that point, symbolically, after watching my Dad die of liver cancer. I have been and can still be to this day, an incredibly stubborn human being.
It would take my Dad’s death and my “wrestling” with God to finally get through my thick skull that if I didn’t surrender to the Gospel message, I would never get the opportunity to see my Dad again. I didn’t get to see my Dad run out and hug and kiss me. I waited too late. Thankfully, my Heavenly Father was waiting on me with open arms.
When I get to Heaven, I’m not quite sure how it will be. Honestly, I need to spend the first few billion years prostrate in front of Jesus. Will I get that reunion with my Dad? I can’t say for sure, but I sure would like to be able to see him and let him know I came back to the truth that he selflessly poured into me.
“The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 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: 21-24 (NIV).
If you were a prodigal; I hope you had that reunion with your earthly father. But if not, we can and should always be thankful that God was always there.
If you are a prodigal; I encourage you to come to your senses. Return to the truth and to your Dad, or your Mom, while there is still time.
Maybe you have a prodigal; I pray that you see them coming down that road soon.
I have heard and read this story for years. Only recently did God allow me to think on the reunion I missed. It saddens me to the point of tears. But those tears turn to thankfulness for what Jesus did for me and that God never gave up on me. He can’t give up. It’s just not who He is.
Run back home and run to the Cross!