Luke 15:20 – 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. (NIV)
When I have read about missing children, I have always wondered how it could happen. Then I was faced with a possible answer. Our family had gone to a mall for an antique show, and the mall was pretty crowded. As we were walking around, I saw someone I knew, and I turned to say "Hello". Meanwhile, my wife saw someone she knew, and stopped to talk. When I caught up with my wife, I asked where our son was. She thought he was with me. Right then I had a sinking feeling, because he had been separated from us. My wife went looking for him as I stayed in one spot and looked for him in case he would pass by. The good thing is that we found him, and everything was okay. During the minutes he was gone, fear and despair had filled me. These emotions were motivated by love. If we did not love him, then we would not have cared or looked for him.
I always believed that in the parable of the prodigal son, the father saw the son "while he was still a long way off" because he was out looking for him each day. He was waiting for him to come back, and was motivated by his love for his son. It did not matter what the son had done. The father was going to forgive him and welcome him back, just as our heavenly father forgives us and welcomes us back. It was his love for us that motivated him to give his Son for us.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for giving your Son so that we might come to you and be forgiven. How great it is to come home to you and be held in your loving arms! May there be only praise in our hearts for this. In Jesus' name. Amen.