As I am working around the house today, my mind is kind of praying and pondering and I am thinking what if…
What if the prodigal son’s dad was a reformed prodigal?
We don’t know, and the story wasn’t about a real dad. I know.
It was a picture of a loving God who waits and watches for us when we wander, and also about a brother’s resentment for unfair rewards.
It was a story that seems to have been directed at the Pharisee’s at the back of the crowd. The older brothers that were already in, and already with God, and should have been rejoicing for the ones being brought from the pig pens to dine at the family table.
But today, I’m pondering the dad of the story.
I’m wondering if he had known what it was to be brought low by his choices.
And as long as it’s my pondering, what if when he came to his senses and returned home; God blessed him with a nice home and a profitable life and a beautiful family. Maybe he told his sons about his past and reared them in the wisdom of one who has learned hard lessons.
If so, he would have opened the door of choice for them. They could choose to learn from his mistakes or choose to learn the hard way on their own.
And what if, when the one came and asked for his inheritance, the father prayed it would be for a better way.
And what if every day as he roamed the hills and searched the distance for sight of his son, he was pacing and praying and hoping and fighting fear.
Would he question his parenting? Would he wonder why one son turned out so well and the other seemed to have fallen off track? Would he let himself to be tempted into believing the lie that God might be punishing him for his own mistakes by watching his son make the same?
And in all of this, would he have been oblivious to the oldest was nursing a grudge that he had somehow “missed out” by being good. Or did the dad see the signs of bitterness, but hope he was wrong.
The dad in the story is a human dad. A picture of the love a father has for his children and the hopes and dreams that a parent holds for them to be “home” – home being the place that is best for them in life, the place where they are fulfilled in all the plans and purposes of God for them.
Whether its as obvious as the prodigal or as subtle as the older brother; the father’s heart is for them to be all that God intended them to be. You can see it in his watching and waiting, you can see it in his pleading with his eldest to come in and celebrate the brother’s return.
And that is where I stop my pondering and commence to praising.
Because prodigal or not: one who has fallen hard or one who has seemingly only skimmed the surface of more socially acceptable temptations; we all need the Father to invite us in.
We need Him running to meet us. We need the robe that covers our shame. We need Him to point out that our faithfulness was not in vain.We need His invitation before we can enter in and sit at the table.
For we did not choose Him. He chose us. John 15:16
While we were still in our sin, He died for us. Romans 5:8
So if you were a prodigal: welcome home.
If you weren’t: humbly celebrate the return of those who were.
If you’re thinking of leaving home for the wrong reasons: don’t.
If you’re eating slop with the hogs: come home.
If you have a prodigal: keep watching and waiting and believing.
If you have a self-righteous one: lovingly pray for that one to remember it is by grace that we are saved…
There is a place at the table for all of us, but only at the invitation of the Father <3