“But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him.” Luke 15:20
I wonder how many times
the father looked down that road
eyes glued for some sign of his son,
only to be disappointed again?
How many times
had his heart ached with longing
for a precious child gone?
How many fears grew
as time lengthened
from weeks, to months, to years?
And dashed hopes
crushed his heart
in the waiting?
How often had he traveled
looking, searching, asking,
“Has anyone seen my son?”
How many tears
shed with each wretched
story of his troubled child?
Or anguished prayers
that split his heart in two?
How many vows made
Of the celebration he would throw
were his son to come home?
Is it any wonder then
at first sight of his boy,
for real this time,
He put rings on his fingers,
called for the best robe and
sandals for his son’s blistered feet?
Nor surprise at a feast thrown
In joy and celebration
for his lost son
Jesus says, there is joy in heaven
whenever one lost child turns toward home.
And adds, God longs for
every one of us this way,
Showering lost daughters and sons
with grace and welcome on their return,
Inviting all to the celebration.
The parable of the Prodigal Son is a favorite of many. It speaks to our hearts. If we are not the one who wandered away, we’re yearning for the troubled loved one to come to their senses.
A woman in one of my churches, had a son who left on an eighteen hundred mile trip to California. He called twice in the first weeks, but, then there was nothing. I sat with her as she agonized, worried and prayed, fearing the worst, while telling herself he was all right. Quite unexpectedly, five years of absence later, she opened her door to find him standing there.
Tears of joy spilled over.
The Parable of the Prodigal Son can be found in Luke 15, along with the parables of The Lost Sheep and The Lost Coin.