Luke 15:20b – 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)
Very often when I contribute a devotional, I use something from my personal experiences. This time, I would like to share something in a little different way, something that touched my heart, and, in that way, it is personal.
It came up after reading and studying about the prodigal — the wayward son — in Luke 15:11-24.
To refresh our memory, the story is of two brothers. The younger son wanted his portion of his father's estate. He wished to go off to a distant land and have his own space. After a short time, he blew it all. I looked at how the young man squandered all his money on foolish things and then when he reached the bottom and had nothing, decided to go back home. I am sure this was not an easy decision, but he went seeking his father's favour. His father, when he saw his son returning home, greeted him with open arms. There was dissension with his brother, for he had remained home all of this time and thought his father loved the wayward son more than him.
Does some of this sound familiar on a personal level? I'm certain many of us have experienced similar things in our own lives.
As I read this passage, I thought about our relationships one with another — our sons, our daughters, or even our friends. If they depart for distant places and mess up, let us always leave the door open on those relationships. We need to love them, and let them know they are loved, even if they don't ever come home. I do — and I pray that door will never be closed.
In our lives, when a loved one goes astray, we don't just stop loving them. Even when there is nothing we can do, we are called to trust God and let him deal with the situation. We are to avoid ever hardening our hearts. In knowing we have done all we can, may they know they are never lost and always loved.
Prayer: O Lord, never let our hearts be hardened against those we love. We pray You will look after them when they wander from us and You. May they come home one day — if not to us, then to You. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.