“The young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything. When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.” Luke 15:16-19 NLT
Although I have this belief that God is a God who will forever be ‘stopping at nothing to reach me,’ my experiencing of this often falls short. In the story of the prodigal son, the Father lets his son leave on some wild journey of which he probably knew, wasn’t going to be one guided by wisdom. If I didn’t look too closely at this story, I may not necessarily initially see illustrated a Father who ‘stops at nothing,’ to reach his children.
The Father was at home when the son came back – and it was there that the Father ran to meet, embrace and throw on a feast for him. The Father met his son indeed with open arms, but only when he arrived back home – ready to be met with and by him.
What are boundaries when it comes to God and his relating to us? Are there any limits to his love? If so, what do they look like? What if the degree of his ‘stopping at nothing,’ as it is illustrated in the story of the prodigal son, is done only in response to our own willingness (and readiness) to draw our own self near to him?
Despite the pain the Father must have experienced seeing his son leave on his chosen perilous journey, he didn’t impose upon it in any way. I bet he wanted to snap his fingers; to do something instant-like to have him back. To stop him being hurt. But he didn’t.
From a place of apparent love, he waited.
Maybe Gods way of relating to us is the same – he lets us take on the journey of the day ahead. Never will he impose upon it to the point that we will feel forced by him to do something differently, even if it is the wrong choice, that’s not who he is. He will forever be ready to meet us, but only to the degree that we too are ready to meet him.
What is to be said of home then? Does that mean because of his so-called boundaries, we are forever trying to get back home, whilst never actually experiencing the beauty of arriving? Does it mean his love for you and I is sort of .. always on hold until we ‘finally change our ways?’
Maybe we can learn something from the story of the prodigal son in that we need not be afraid of again bringing our whole self back into the presence of the Father. Don’t be afraid to bring what may only be the middle, of an unfinished story back into his presence. Perhaps its most recent pages are marred with the wrong words, and it tells a story of which you have learned to shield rather than show; but don’t let that stop you from bringing the entirety of your story and the truth of its chapter as it is today, into the presence of The Father. Because I think it is into that very place, we will find ourselves welcomed into that ‘stopping at nothing’ kind of love.
What if home in this sense, isn’t so much a place, as it is a willingness to simply come honestly and truthfully before the Father? I think Gods very being is oriented towards meeting you there, because that too is where he is. What if all the comforts of home are found simply in our coming back – to him? In our coming back to our here?
“So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.” Luke 15:20 (NLT)