Back in a post entitled “Everyone, But Me” I mentioned Jesus’ classic story about the prodigal son. This young man was absolutely sure he’d ruined all possibility of ever being restored to his father’s love. As Jesus went on to tell the story, He described the son bottoming out in his life. At that point he thought to himself, “My Dad’s lowest grunt workers are in better condition than I am. I know my dad will never let me back in the house, but at least I can plead with him to let me be one of his lowest grunts.” So the son returned to his father, daring to hope his dad would at least let him be a slave. But he was blown away by what he actually experienced. He discovers his dad had been worried sick about him, watching and waiting for him to come home. He discovered a father willing to ditch every last shred of his personal dignity the instant he saw his son off in the distance, as he ran and practically tackled his son in an emotional embrace. If that were not all, his father treated him (the child who’d given his father every reason to withhold any further favor) as if he’d just been born for the very first time! He threw his son a party and extended to him every benefit he could possibly give him as an honored and trusted son.
Jesus told this story in order to describe the relentless-father-heart of God. I think this father of relentless love would say to any unbeliever, “I’m the Daddy you always wished you had. I know you think you’ve ruined any possibility of ever being loved, but you haven’t. I love you for who are you right here and now. Come home!” I also think God the father would say to many believers, “You’re still relating to me as If were your master and you were my lowest grunt. You think your struggle with sin damages how I see you and how I will treat you, but the truth is, I can’t stop loving you. Please run home to me and talk to me, instead of cowering.” Which way do you tend to run; towards the home of your heavenly father or away from home?