I attended a church service for youth this evening. The speaker’s topic was the parable of the prodigal son. It was brought to our attention that this is the only place in the Bible where God is pictured as running to us.
A few years ago, I visited a family that owned a pig. One pig. He lived in a…. pig pen, of course.
Being the curious animal lover that I am, I wanted to see the pig. As we made our way to the back yard and finally, to the pig’s home, I experienced something vastly different and out of the ordinary. There was a smell (a stench) that was horrible (overwhelming) and the mud in the pen was extremely black (pitch black). Needless to say, I do not wish to ever visit a pig again while he is in captivity.
The prodigal son had been spending his days feeding pigs. When he came to the realization that he needed to go home, I would assume that he was outwardly dirty, yet his heart was being cleansed and renewed as he came to his senses. Still, he must have been ragged and worn, steeped in the stench of pigs and suffering from his rebellious choices.
You know who I thought of? Me. Oh, I didn’t ask for an early inheritance check or run away to a distant country. I hadn’t been earning any wages while working on a farm. Instead, I tried to be good on my own, leave my home town to pursue my personal interests apart from God and somehow conquer every traumatic thing that had ever happened to me by proving myself and making it in the world. The key words there are apart from God. It was a futile adventure.
I will always remember the day I came to my senses and asked God for forgiveness. Where was He at that moment? Running to me. Ready to accept me, filled with compassion. It didn’t matter that I didn’t have my life cleaned up yet. He accepted me, ragged and worn, steeped in the stench of independance and suffering from my own rebellious choices.
Luke 15:20 says, "…but while he was still a long way off, his father saw him, and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him." NIV