The Prodigal Has Returned

And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry. - Luke 15:17-24

Most of us are familiar with the story of the prodigal son, but it's not every day that one actually gets to encounter it.  Several months ago, our church experienced a great loss.  One of our own went astray.  Just as he had done with the prodigal son, Satan had duped this dear soul into thinking that things would be better away from the flock of God.  So she left, and we mourned.  And we prayed, oh, how we prayed.  When others would have given up hope, we (as a church) were determined to do just as the prodigal's father had done--we waited for our loved one to return.

And last night, she did!  Just as the prodigal did, she confessed her sin and apologized for her actions, and just as the father did, we accepted her back with open arms and lots of tears.  The prodigal has returned, and the church is rejoicing.

Knowing how much my heart was blessed last night and how greatly my tears flowed, I cannot imagine how the prodigal's father must have felt.  I mean, this was his son.  His own flesh and blood. How he must have mourned his departure.  How he must have prayed every day as he waited for his child to return home.  But can you imagine the joy that overwhelmed him when he saw his son in the distance?  After experiencing what we experienced last night, I have an idea but to the extent that the father rejoiced I simply cannot fathom.

And that leads me to wonder how God must feel every time one of his children finds their way home.  Can you imagine the rejoicing?  Can you hear the angels shouting praises?  Can you see the smile on the Father's face and the tears streaming down His cheeks?  Can you imagine the embrace of the One who has waited and waited for the prodigal to return?  Wow!  Yep, all I can say is, "Wow!"

Perhaps you have run away from the Lord, seeking your own way.  Let the prodigal son be an example to you.  It's not worth it, and when all is said and done, you'll only find yourself in the pig pen.  The Father is waiting with open arms.  In His presence, you will find acceptance and forgiveness.  Don't wait another day.  Make your way back to your Father.  After all, there's no place like home!