There was a time in my life, at the ripe old age of 18, that I became a prodigal daughter. This may not have been one of the proudest moments of my life, but it was life-changing all the same.
Nearing my high school graduation, with my whole life ahead of me, I chose to run away from home to marry a boy I thought I loved. He was a boy my parents would not approve of me marrying, and one I had “dated” secretly behind their backs. Of course I thought I knew more about life than my parents! My dad had once said to me that if I ever left home that I better take all my things with me because I wouldn’t be coming back, so I had cleaned out my room, taken what would fit in my car and disposed of the rest, and off I went!
Let’s look into the Word of God and relate my experience to the story of the prodigal son and his earthly father (who really was an example of our Heavenly Father.) Think about it, here was this son demanding his inheritance so he could go off and live life however he wanted to, and his father granted his wish.
Luke 15 tells the story this way: 13“And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a distant country, and there he squandered his estate with loose living. 14“Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred in that country, and he began to be impoverished.
The thing that impresses me most is that when this prodigal son “came to his senses,” he decided to return to his father. Did he know his father would take him back? Did he know his father still loved him? I think he was pretty desperate at that point and knew his father was the only one who could help him, and I think he realized that whatever consequences awaited him would be better than the state he found himself in.
The bible says in Luke 15:20, 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. This father loved his son and welcomed him back, even held a feast in his honor to celebrate. …for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.~Luke 15:24
So how does this relate to my story of running away? Well, even though I may have taken my dad’s comments to “take everything with me” in the literal sense, they apparently did not reveal his true heart and love for me. My dad and my brother came after me to bring me back home!! If I ever questioned my dad’s love for me, it was solidified that day. Yes, my dad really did love me and he welcomed me back! There was no feast or fattened calf, not even a party, but there was love, love and more love, that’s for sure!
Now think about our Heavenly Father and the example Jesus gave in the story of this younger son who demanded his inheritance and went and squandered it all, then came running back to his father for provision and sustenance since he had nothing left in himself! I am certain that had my dad not intercepted me that day when I ran away from home, I most definitely would have suffered some serious and regrettable consequences and likely would have returned home to my dad asking for mercy just like the prodigal son of the bible!
Aren’t we just like that sometimes? We have to come to the end of ourselves, hungry, lonely, feeling defeated, destitute, broken, and then our Heavenly Father picks us up and loves on us, provides for us, and gives us victory over our defeat. Glorious, glorious love our Father hath lavished on us!!
Thank you Heavenly Father for your unconditional love for us. Thank you that no matter what crazy thing we might do, You still love us and welcome us back with open arms when we return to you. Thank you Father for not allowing us to stray beyond your reach. There is nowhere we can go, nothing we can do, that is too far from your love, mercy and grace, to keep us from returning to your loving arms!