“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.”
Luke 15: 20
Luke 15: 20
We are used to the idea that we are to wait upon the Lord. Psalms sing about it. Proverbs guide us through this concept. The Prophets show us the wisdom of God’s timing and how it differs from ours. James urges us to apply it in our daily lives. Jesus, in the parable of the lost son, however, tells us about a paradox shift. He tells us about the Father, Our Heavenly Father, as the one who waits.
The very fact that the father in the story sees the son “while he was still a long way off” means only one thing: the father was waiting for the son.
Remember that slogan from one of the fast food chains: “Have it your way!”? Considering our world today, our society as a whole makes a collective push so people believe they are entitled to have it their way. No matter what it is or how twisted it may become, we are told everywhere that it is OK to have it our way. In fact, we are convinced that we should accept nothing less but our way. With complete disregard of any negative or adverse consequences to us as well as to the people around us, we set off in pursuit of our way, pushing aside those who oppose us as we chant the trite song of tolerance.
Well, sometimes, as the parable illustrates, God does allow us to have it our way. In our rebellious spirit, we demand to live our lives the way we choose, ignoring God’s Word, warning signs, red flags, admonition and advice. We decide to go against what we know is right, in order to gain the instant pleasure that comes with obtaining the object of our misguided desire. We accept nothing less than what we want, and when we get it, we part ways with the Giver, hoping to never have to face Him again.
We refuse to see the truth, therefore, as the loving Father He is, God knows the only way to make us see is by letting us have it as we want it so we can see with our own eyes. He does it, however, clothed in Mercy, Love and Compassion, and only to show us the error in our ways.
Consider the simple exchange below:
Son: Can I go play outside?
Father: Sure, but please, wear a coat! It’s cold!
Son: No, I don’t want to wear a coat.
Father: You need to wear a coat. You’ll catch a cold!
Son: NO! I don’t want to wear a coat!
Father: Wear a coat! It’s too cold!
Father: OK, don’t wear a coat…GO!
A few minutes later son comes inside the house and quietly grabs a coat.
Of course, it’s a silly example, but it serves to illustrate how this reality works in so many levels. And it also goes to say that sometimes, we just have to experience it for ourselves. Our stubbornness in thinking we know better often takes us off road into the wilderness, where we lose our way. And although Our Heavenly Father lets us to go there, and He technically doesn’t go looking for us, like in the parable, allowing us to make our mistakes, in the end, He welcomes us back with open arms. He doesn’t only welcome us, but He waits for us, and when He sees us, He runs to us to embrace us. He knows the mistake will take us into a road of discovery, growth and repentance, which will ultimately bring us home again.
May we open our eyes to the Truth and our soul to His Perfect Plan so we would leave behind the desire to have it our way, and accept His path for our lives.