The Divine Mystery exists in each of us. We are Stewards of that Mystery.
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 15:20b
Do you ever imagine God doing this for you? This is the middle part of the story of the Prodigal Son. It is the story of a loving father waiting for his son to return to the blessings of home which the father has prepared for a lifetime. The father is patient: he knows that he cannot teach the son these lessons; like all of the most important things in life, they can only be learned. The remarkable part of the story is the father patiently waiting on the porch night after night, hoping against hope that the son will remember these blessings before he destroys himself.
We know the story. The son asks for things that he has no right to ask: an inheritance that is not due him until the father dies. The son has not said it directly, but the implication is that he wishes the father were dead so that he could inherit his portion of what the father has earned during his life of hard labor. The son feels entitled. We know that the son’s request is ridiculous, rude, and disrespectful in the extreme. The only thing more ridiculous than the son’s request is how the father responds.
I know what my response would be to my sons asking for their share of their inheritance before I was dead. My response wouldn’t be acceptable in church circles. I would be hurt and disappointed beyond what I can communicate. Likely, I would react instead of responding.
But this is a story, a story of a father’s abiding love for both of his children. It is about responding, not reacting. It is the story of a father who keeps the biggest possible picture in mind. It is a story of God’s love for us, a story that communicates how ridiculous and irresponsible that love is. It is a story that communicates God’s love for us ahead of our worthiness. It is a story about God seeking us before we seek God.
I wake up most every day ready to embrace the day the Lord has made. And at the same time, I have trouble some days believing that God could love me this much. I get scared. I get full of myself. I’m sure I have to prove something important to somebody. I forget.
What I need to remember on those days is that God is waiting on the porch to embrace me, to kiss me, and to tell me that my coming back to Him is all He ever really desired in the first place.
Questions for the day:
What will have to happen for me to feel that God loves me this much? What do I need to stop doing in order to experience that love?