But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him. Luke 15:20
In this most beloved of parables, Jesus expressed the way God loves us and reconciles us to Him. Even when we have taken all God has given us and run off, even when we have wasted all that we have received, even when the mud of the pigpen and the stink of our sins cover us…God is waiting. God is loving. God is hoping. God doesn’t even need us to clean ourselves off; all God looks for is our turning toward home, and that return fills God with joy. In fact, even when we are “still far off,” even when we haven’t made it back yet, even before we have tried to explain ourselves, even before we have the opportunity to offer our confession…God runs to reunite with us. How amazing is that?! God welcomes us as we are, and immediately celebrates our return.
It is time to return to God?
Lord, I have gone off and lived in a far-off land. I have set a great distance between You and me. I have lived as if You were dead, taking my inheritance and spending it like a drunken sailor. And yet You anxiously wait for me to return. You love me even when I am unlovable to myself. You run to greet me the moment I turn in Your direction. How great is Your love! I will be forever thankful. In Jesus’ name, I pray. AMEN.