By guest blogger, Vanessa Donnan who writes “Walk By Faith” http://vanessadonnan.wordpress.com/
The Lost Boys
Scripture: Luke 15:11-24
Have you ever been so excited for someone’s arrival that you stood on the front step waiting for them to pull in the driveway? I do it all the time. I run out to hug a visitor before they even unbuckle their seatbelt. But have you ever stood on your front step waiting on someone without any indication that they were actually coming? Not only that, but you hadn’t spoken to them for months or possibly years?
Every time I read this passage that’s how I imagine this father’s love for his wayward son looks. Just standing there, waiting, on nothing more than some boards nailed together forming the front porch of hope: the hope that kept him looking toward the horizon where the dusty laneway meets the sky, believing that one day he’ll see the silhouette of his boy returning home.
In the beginning of this passage we see that one son remains in his father’s house of faith while the other decides he needs to taste all the world has to offer and ride every ride in the amusement park of life. He packed his inheritance in his suitcase, along with his finest ‘go-to’ shirts and Friday night dancing shoes; he loaded up his donkey and hit the dirt road in search of his own way, (this was a couple thousand years B.H.F. –Before Henry Ford– invented the automobile). His father stood on the front porch with silent tears streaming down his face, watching his son turn his back and walk away.
On this road, he chases thrill after thrill hoping each new high would fill the void he felt on the inside. It says there’s a famine in the land and he needs to go back to his father’s house where he knows there is food and shelter. But the greater famine is on the inside where he sees the truth much clearer now – in his father’s house isn’t just food on the table, but food for his soul.
He packs his bags again and laces up his worn out Nikes. Although his inheritance is gone, his suitcase is much heavier than before – carrying the weight of his sin and shame. He’s afraid his father won’t take him back so he writes a repentance speech to explain his filthy condition. Meanwhile back at the ranch, his father had been fattening up the calf for the celebratory steak dinner and had kept his sons redemption robe hanging in the hall closet; because faith is the substance of things hoped for but not yet seen (Hebrews 11:1)
The day finally comes when the father sees his son walking down the laneway, he looks filthy on the outside and battle scarred on the inside. He runs to his son with arms wide open. He didn’t even want to hear what his son had to say, he was so overjoyed that his boy had found his way.
The father didn’t ask his boy what he’d done out there on the road – he just gave him clean clothes and welcomed him home.
Application: But Now I’m Found…
Maybe you can relate to this son because you’ve been in his shoes, pulling your heavy suitcase behind you – tossing the love of God aside in favour of your own road. Until the day you wake up to a famine in your soul and realize that you are in fact in need of a Saviour; yet you wonder if your Heavenly Father will take you back. Maybe as you read this you’re thinking “you don’t know the things I’ve done or the places I’ve been.” How does a perfect God love a filthy sinner like me? Simple – It’s called Grace. The garment He clothes all of his children in.
We all have our stories and our scars – our self-justified reasons for turning our back on God. But today is a new day, and yesterdays excuses don’t hold up. The Father gave up His one and only Son (John 3:16), so that you and I always had a place to call home. He saved a seat at His table for you, and every time He looks over at your empty chair He longs for you to come back, so He can take your filthy rags from a sinful life and clothe you in His mercy and grace.
This passage paints a beautiful picture of an eternally loving Father that watched you walk away, saw every failure and mistake, yet stands with His arms swung wide open waiting for you to run into His flawless love. There’s nothing you can do to earn it, and absolutely nothing that you’ve done will make Him deny you of it.
It doesn’t matter what you’ve done – it only matters that you’ve come.
The Father won’t ask you what you did on the road – He’ll just give you clean clothes and welcome you home.