“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. 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 15:20–24, NIV84)
In the last couple devotions we have focused on a wayward son who thought he knew better. He thought he had it all figured out. He just needed to get away from his father’s household and he would be free to execute his plan. So he got his inheritance from his family and got out of town. And for awhile life was good. But then he ran out of his father’s provisions. He lost his friends and the life that he thought was so wonderful. He ended up cleaning up after pigs to earn an income. He finally came to his senses and decided to go back home. Knowing that he had sinned against God and his father, he hoped his father would take him back as a servant. Even a servant’s pay was better than what he had. So he went back home.
Today, we focus on the waiting father, the father who every day prayed for his son and hoped for the day he would come to his senses and return home. Repeatedly throughout the day he must have thought of his son and looked off in the distance to see if he might be coming. Day after day this father did the same hoping, waiting and watching, but nothing. That is, until today. Today he looked out and saw his son in the distance. He saw so many hopes and prayers being answered in one moment. He ran out to his son. As his son was speaking about sin and unworthiness, the father focused on the son who had returned home. He hugged him. He kissed him. He put a robe around him and a ring on his finger. It did not occur to this father to relegate his returning son to servanthood. He called for a celebration because his son who was gone (dead) was now home (alive).
If you have any doubts today about how much God loves you, please read these verses and this devotion one more time. God has longed for the day when you and I would return home. He doesn’t want to listen to messages of unworthiness. Our value to Him is so great that He was willing to sacrifice His own Son for our redemption. We need to celebrate with God and all the angels every time a prodigal comes home. It’s great to be home, isn’t it?