Luke 15:11-32 tells us of a father and his two sons. The sons grew up in the father’s house and were given all they needed daily. But the youngest felt restricted and limited by the rules his father had placed on him. As a young man, he didn’t want to wait for his father’s death; he wanted his inheritance immediately. His father agreed and divided his wealth between his two sons.
Within a few days, the youngest son leaves home. He meets up with friends who are only too happy to encourage him in his sinful way of living. Maybe they were prodigals as well. As he walks further away from his father, he spends time doing all the things he couldn’t do at home. At last, freedom! But soon, his money disappeared, and with it, his so-called friends. He was left alone with only the pigs to keep him company as his dining companions.
He had been living a delusion. Backsliding feels so good because there is a temporary sense of relief initially. It feels like freedom but is actually bondage. It feels like revelation but is actually deception. There is pleasure in sin for a season, but it will soon end. Sin will take you further than you ever thought and keep you longer than you dreamed possible. As he was walking away from his father’s house, the prodigal could have never imagined that his journey would end in a pig pen.
“But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger. I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.”
He finally opened his eyes and realized how far he had strayed from his father’s house. He was willing to trade everything he had taken for granted as a son to be a servant. He turned around and started back down the road to home with his head down. All this time, the father had been waiting and watching for him. He ran down the road to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. The prodigal began to repent, to beg for forgiveness, but the father said to his servants, “Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. My son was dead and now is alive! He was lost, but now he is found!”
Isaiah 55:7 declares,
“Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
The father did not run after his son and beg him to return as he walked away. The prodigal was allowed to reap what he had sown. When he came to his senses, he turned around and came home on his own. So often, when we see loved ones walking away, we want to stop them and drag them back to the Father’s house. But God has given each one of us free will. We can choose to walk away from the Father and become enslaved to sin and darkness. But He stands ready to welcome us home when we return to where we belong.
God’s grace is not like our grace. His mercies towards us are new every morning. Don’t wait another day if you have walked away from the Father’s house. It doesn’t matter where you are or what you have done; He is waiting with open arms to welcome you back home.