“But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him … the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet.'” ~Luke 15:20b, 22 NKJV
Don’t get me wrong. I have a great Dad. When it comes to knowing how to build and fix stuff, he’s the best. Add in strong faith, wisdom, patience and a quirky sense of humor, and my Dad can’t be beat.
Well, except by my Heavenly Father.
Jesus told another story to show us what God’s Kingdom is like and how God welcomes His children when they head home. The father in this story waits and watches. He sees when his wayward child is still far away … and runs to meet him. And when he gets there, this amazing father loves. Welcomes. Accepts. Elevates. Lavishes. And throws a party because his lost son has returned.
The prodigal’s father was more interested in their restored relationship than restitution for the squandered inheritance. (Unlike the older brother who clung to resentment instead.)
And Jesus said this is what God is like. Ponder that for a moment. God, the Sovereign Creator, who would be fully justified in holding me accountable for all my failings and shortcomings, sees my heart. He waits and watches for me to turn home in repentance. And then He runs.
Our Father, in heaven, runs. To me. And to you.
It reminds me of a song by Benny Hester, When God Ran, (performed by Phillips, Craig & Dean) that says it better than I ever could.
What about you? Are you like the prodigal headed home or the older brother sitting in judgment? Would it be easier to repent if you saw God as the running Father?