In Luke 15:11-20, Jesus tells a parable about a young son who demands that his father give him his inheritance and then leaves home, intent on living a life that brings him pleasure. However, this young man quickly runs out of money and resources and is left alone, feeding pigs, in a far away country. One day he realizes that even his father’s servants have more than he does, and he was a fool to leave his home. He decides to go back to this father and beg to be a servant in the house.
Then an amazing thing happens. While he is on his way home, his father happens to see him. Verse 20 says that, “while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.” In Jewish society, dignity was extremely important. And older, wealthy men (like this father) did not run because it was considered very undignified. But this man cared more about his son than about his dignity. He ran to his son, the very son who had wished he was dead and had abandoned him. Not only did he run to him, but he also fell on his neck and embraced him. His son hadn’t apologized. He hadn’t said he was sorry or that he felt bad about what he did. But the father loved for his son so much that he didn’t care. He didn’t care what his neighbors thought; he didn’t care that his son was looked down on by the Jewish community. He loved his son, and was overwhelmed with joy at his return.
This story touches my heart, because it is a beautiful picture of the way God loves us. Before we know Christ, we live in rebellion and selfishness. But when we realize our desperate need for God and begin walking toward Him, He is overjoyed and runs to draw us into His family. God wants us, despite our former lifestyle and attitude toward Him. This is a love that is all at once unexpected, stunning, and immensely powerful. Meditate on the love of God for you–the love that does not fade with time, but remains strong and steady, ever desiring to draw you in.