There’s a lot of things I don’t know.  I don’t know which way the stock market is going to go.  I don’t know how long I’ll be here on earth.  I don’t know what I’m going to have for lunch.  There is one thing I know, though.  I know the story of the prodigal son

If you’re like me you’ve probably heard it a bunch of times and you get it.  Here’s the story of a young man who selfishly wanted his reward early.  He didn’t want to wait.  (Guess he was an early adopter of our insta-culture today, huh?)  Anyway he blows his money and comes crawling back home ready to humble himself and take whatever his father will give him.  You knew how the story ended probably before you read it in the link above.  His father takes him back, throws a party and all is forgiven.  Easy, right?  Heard it a bunch, even seen it a few times in real life, right?  Well, let’s pare this story down a whole bunch.

Just this once I’d like you to take a look at only one verse of the story above.  Take a gander at verse 20.  It’s just three sentences and the middle sentence of the three is just huge.  “And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming.”

For me, beyond the folly of the son, beyond the forgiveness of the father, there is the searching, the caring and the constant vigil God keeps for us, his prodigal sons and daughters.  There’s no real definite mention of how long the prodigal was away.  It could have been two weeks or two months, maybe two years.  Regardless of the actual time, for the father (God) to have seen his son coming from a long distance he had to have been looking.  Not just an occasional glance, not just a ‘check the horizon from time to time’ his father was intently studying things that were far off.  This is good news for me because I have to confess, I go away for a while sometimes.  Sometimes I’m off the reservation for way too long.

I’m less than I should be.  I take pleasures and borrow from accounts I have no business withdrawing from at times.  In plain terms, I don’t do what I’m supposed to do.  And God still looks for me; always.  He searches for me constantly and when I return he rejoices.

Sure, I’m repentant and I should be.  I return many times broke, down on my luck and starving for things I can’t provide for myself.  He always takes me in with open arms, joy and compassion.  He enriches my life, gives me back good things and feeds me in ways I could never manage or imagine.

God sees me from a long way off.  And when he sees me he doesn’t wait for me to make that long, shameful, woeful journey to him; he runs to me.  He accepts me and he is glad for my return.  He wants me at the party, and that’s very, very good news indeed.

If you take a look at it once in a while there’s a lot of really encouraging stuff in the bible.  It might take a little thought sometimes but it’s worth it.

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