A Long Way Off

“To illustrate the point further, Jesus told them this story: “A man had two sons. The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.’ So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons. A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living. About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve. He persuaded a local farmer to hire him, and the man sent him into his fields to feed the pigs. 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.” 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. His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.’ But his father said to the 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. And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.” Luke 15:11-24 (NLT)

I don’t know about you, but I can relate to this story. There are times when we want to do things our way instead of God’s way. We can make a mess of things since we can choose our actions but not the consequences. At that point, we realize God knew best, and we should have followed his way to start with.

My favorite part of the story isn’t that he welcomes us back with open arms. It’s also not that he restores us to the place he originally intended for us to be. While these are both true, my favorite part is that he is looking for us to return. The story says while the son was a long way off, the father saw him coming. This is a great reminder that when we make mistakes, when we do our own thing, God is watching and waiting for us to come back. As soon as we turn to come back, God is there.

Prayer: God, thank you for your plans for my life. While I may not always do things your way, you are always there when I realize I need to change. Help me to be more like you. In Jesus name. Amen.