March 03 Day 63
How Then Shall We Live?
Devotions on Living a Deeper Christian Life
“And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.” – Luke 15:20
When God Ran
In this verse (Luke 15:20), we see the only mention of when God ran. It is found within the Parable of the Prodigal son. Here we see a joyful Father running at the first sight of his prodigal son returning that had left him some time ago.
I think few things are harder for a parent than having a child who has chosen the way of the Prodigal. The pain of this sorrow is deeper than one can imagine. You second guess the way you raised your children, the things you said, the choices you made, but it the end it is their choice to leave. This sorrow resides in a deep place within your soul. It asks, Will you be able to run to your child when God brings them back into your life? Here we see the urgency of the Father running to his son at first sight.
There is another parable where Jesus left the ninety-nine sheep to go after the one sheep that went astray (Luke 15:4). In the Greek, this word “Astray” is the same word Jesus used when asked by His disciples what would be the signs of His return. His first answer in Matt 24:4 was, “Take heed that no one deceives you.” Did He leave the 99 to go after the one sheep that had been deceived in going astray?
I have been this lost sheep and the Lord did come after me. How do you deal with a prodigal child? Do you go after them, or do you let them go as the Father illustrated in the Prodigal’s Parable did for his son? These are very hard questions. The father in this story waited for his son to return and then ran to him when he saw him coming towards him.
A closer look at the culture of that day shows that the Father may have had to run to his son in an effort to save his life from being stoned to death. The son had dishonored his Father. In those days, many a rebellious son had been stoned for a lesser offense. The son would have had to pass through the housing of the Father’s servants and neighbors. Stoning was certainly a possibility, and the Father knew this. Perhaps this is why he “Ran” to his son. Perhaps the father had heard others talking about what would be a just punishment for his rebellious son. Perhaps he ran to protect him from any harm.
Another thing to consider is the Father’s robe. He would have had to lift up the bottom of his robe to run to his son. It would have been a sign of dishonor for a father to lift up his robe and run in any manner, thus showing his concern only for the life of his son who was lost and was now returning. This parable is rich with many treasures and insights for anyone wanting to study how God receives back to Himself those of us who choose to leave and chase after the riches of this world.
I’m reminded of another story on this topic about a daughter who left her mother one night to pursue the things that she had heard the world had to offer her. The mother had always left a light on and her door unlocked for her daughter when she would return home late at night. The daughter consumed by her passions, came home later and later until one evening, she did not return home at all. Her passions had taken her flesh far beyond her wildest imaginations.
Then one day, she was reminded of her mother. Five long years had passed. She quickly headed home, traveling all day to see her mother. When she arrived late at night, she saw the light that her mother had left on, and was surprised to find the door was left unlocked.
When she entered her mother’s home, she asked her mother why she had left the light on so late, and why the door was unlocked so late at night. Her mother replied that she did this every night since she had left for the past five years, anticipating her return, and now she was joyful that the day had finally come of her return home. The daughter fell to her mother’s feet and wept. Such devoted love from the broken heart of a mother.
I ask myself, “Do I have this kind of strength to leave my light on and my door left unlocked for what could be five years or perhaps even longer? I struggle with the words of this story as they re-play for my own prodigal children.
I have lived a part of my life as the prodigal. It is now years later, and God has restored my life and blessed me with a new daughter in my old age. There is no doubt in me that He foreknew that I would need the unconditional love of a child at this time in my life. Never underestimate God knowing what you need. God is our loving father and knows your deepest needs.
Never lose hope for the day when you can rejoice in the words spoken by a Father many years ago (Luke 15:23-24);
“And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill [it]; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.”
Words to Think About…
<>–THE SECRET TO SUCCESS AND LONG LIFE–<>
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise 😉 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.” – Ephesians 6:1-3
<>–THE BACKSIDE OF A DESERT–<>
“It is always on the backside of the desert that we come to the mountain of God – on the backside of the desert of self, at the end of our own dreams and ambitions and plans. Poor Moses had quite a come-down from the courts of Egypt to the desert of Midian. He carried in his hand only the shepherd’s rod, fit symbol of his humiliation. God demanded that he cast even that to ground. And when he took it up again it became henceforth the ‘Rod of the Lord.‘ If God has brought you to the backside of the desert, if you are reduced, as it were, to a shepherd’s rod, cast even that gladly at His feet and He will restore it to you the rod of God – and with it you shall work wonders in His name so long as you endure as seeing Him Who is invisible.” – Vance Havner
“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed.” – 1 Peter 4: 12-13