“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.”
A few weeks ago, my wife Claire visited Orlando to present at an international conference. I was really pleased for her – a really great opportunity for her professionally, but also just a fantastic experience to visit Florida. She was away for just over a week, and it was the longest time we have been apart since we got married two and a half years ago. I was surprised by just how much I missed her whilst she was away, and I was so happy to see her again when she (eventually – thanks BA!) returned home.
Now, in our extended reading today, there are some wonderful parables, and I would encourage you to read the passage in its entirety (just click on ‘Expand passage’ above), but time after time, the verse I have selected for today’s Daily Reading hits me right between the eyes as I read it. The image of a father constantly scanning the horizon, hoping and waiting for the return of his son, is extremely powerful. The father’s response to finally seeing his son almost brings a tear to my eye; he sees him, runs to him, flings his arms around him, and kisses him. He is just so happy to see his son again, the son who he feared he might never see again. Yet here he is, he has returned! The father here, of course, represents God, who is eagerly awaiting every person on this planet to return to him. And when, as sinners, we do turn back to God, he is just thrilled beyond words. What a powerful picture of God’s love for you, for me, for everyone!
Let’s give thanks today for the love that God constantly shows us, for the immense compassion he has for us. Let’s try to live as better children of God. And let’s encourage those we encounter who have yet to turn to God to do so. He is waiting for them with compassion in his heart and a ready embrace!