So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. Luke 15:20
We raise our kids — teaching them continually — spending hours and hours of godly instruction — hoping that they will follow God and not the world. However, in the end it is their choice. We can’t ultimately force them into the right path, but we can teach, pray, live by example, and be there with a heart full of compassion if ever they fall. And they will fall. Some bigger than others, but it will happen as we all have fallen short of the glory of God.
My biggest desire is for my children to obey the gospel and remain faithful everyday until their death. Maybe they will do this as they daily repent of their faults and diligently put their focus on pleasing God. Or maybe they will be the prodigal who strays into a sinful world looking to find satisfaction in something they think they’ve been missing — being deceived by the lure of living with instant gratification — turning from everything I have taught them.
How my heart would ache and burn if they did. How my eyes would be filled daily with tears for fear of the detrimental consequences they face. How I would long to accept them back with a heart full of compassion — to run and embrace them and kiss them with the comfort and joy of knowing they had returned to the full assurance of being in God’s grace.
I can only imagine this is the longing the father of the prodigal son felt. This is why his son’s return was met with such celebration and deep emotions. A father who had lost his son to the world was now experiencing everything he had hoped and longed for the moment his son strayed. His son had come to his senses. He was home, repentent, and ready to do whatever it took to be in his father’s good graces. Exactly where he belonged and everything good the father desired for his beloved child.
Every faithful parent is this father and his story gives us a relatable understanding of the love of our heavenly Father. If this is how we feel and respond to our children’s return from sin, just envision the response of our heavenly Father who loves our children and the world much more than we could ever fathom as Jesus says:
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
Loving Father, having children has helped me relate to Your love for mankind. As a parent who longs for the faithfulness of my children, I see myself in the father of the prodigal son. Thank you for this portrayal Jesus gave to demontrate Your love and excitement for every single person who strays and returns to Your righteous way. May I be as humble and repentent as the son when I stray and as compassionate and loving as the father for every person who returns from a world of sin. Guide me in the ways I should instruct my children to lead them to lifelong belief in Your Son that gives everlasting life. In praise and honor of Your only begotten whom You gave because You loved the world so much, amen.
Truth in love,