The story of The Prodigal Son , retold by Linda J. Maynard
“Stop staring at me father. You knew this day was coming, I told you days ago.”
Hiding his tears, the father looked the other way. Standing close to his son, he felt the swish of each piece of clothing thrown in the bag.
“You have the money right?” asked the son.
The father reached under his cloak for the bag that held his son’s inheritance. While knowing he had verified it many times before, but he recounted it stalling for time. Because every moment with his son delayed his heartache. The father recalled the many times they played hide and seek. How, when he found his son, he would tickle him, then spin him around, as he held him tightly. He shook himself to return to reality. This time, his son didn’t want to be found and was only anxious to get away.
His son quickly moved toward the tent’s exit. He stopped abruptly and turned towards his father. “You know father, I have to do this, and I hope you understand.”
The father couldn’t answer that question because he didn’t understand, but he loved his son so. “Please don’t leave without my blessing son.” And with that, they awkwardly advanced towards one another. The son was determined not to hold on to his father too long and yet, for a moment his resolve weakened. As if he were embarrassed, the son pulled away and left the tent. The father was not far behind and watched his son leaving. With a sigh and a deep swallow, he acknowledged he may never see his son again.
The father’s shoulders sagged as he made his way back to the tent. He waved off his older son and told him he needed time alone.
The father’s heartache was so deep, that all he could do was lay down, feigning sleep if anyone should call on him.
He thought to himself, “My emotional tank is empty Father God, I hope you understand.”
Much time passed, but the father kept his eyes on the horizon; searching…hoping…always hoping for his son’s return. When the son had wasted all of his inheritance on food, wine and women he finally returned—poor, broken and repentant. The father ran to him and embraced him.
Take Away: Who do you identify with? The father? The prodigal son? Like that father, our heavenly Father searches the horizon for our return with open arms. No matter how far we roam; no matter how low we go, God always welcomes us home. No. Matter. What. Maybe, like the prodigal’s father, you’ve watched a prodigal leave, but instead of keeping your eyes on the horizon, hoping for his return, you’ve slammed the door–angry at God and your son. This battle isn’t about you. It’s about God’s mercy, grace, forgiveness and unfailing love.
May I challenge you to open the door? Invite God in to revive your hope and always…always…keep your eyes on the horizon and your arms open wide.
Prayer: Lord, I can see love encapsulated in” letting go.” You have fashioned us with a free will. We can “stay home” in the realm of obedience or we can do it our way, being star-struck by worldly enticements. We are so grateful that You are a dad who never gives up hope for our return. And as You eye the horizon, you will be the first to run, embrace us and welcome us home.
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