I have been reading a book by James S. (Jim) Woodroof. The title he (or the publisher) chose was Famous Sayings of Jesus, but it could have been called Words of Truth and Grace from the Mouth of Jesus. That would have been more descriptive.
Famous Sayings of Jesus has two sections. The first is about the beatitudes Jesus taught in Matthew 5:1-12. The second section of the book is about parables that are scattered throughout the gospels, but it concentrates mainly on the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32.
Yesterday when I read about the father in the story, I thought about all of you. I know how tempting it is to feel that the outcome of your children’s lives depends completely on you. We live in a culture that blames parents for how children turn out. However, in the parable of the prodigal son who squandered his inheritance and ended up in a pig pen, there is not a hint of blame for the father.
If the story of the prodigal son originated today, the storyteller would probably explain what the father did that caused his son to turn out the way he did. However, in Jesus’ parable, the father is the story’s real hero. This father was simply going along living his life, when he received a terrible blow. That blow came from one of the last people on earth who should have hurt him. It came from his own flesh and blood, his very own son.
In effect, the younger son said, “I don’t care if you are dead or alive, Daddy. Give me my share of what you have worked for all these years. I don’t want to wait until you die; I want mine now.”
The father complied and then he waited.
One day the son realized his horrific situation. One day he thought about how much better off even the servants were in his father’s house. One day he went home.
How horrible the wait must have been for this daddy whose sorrow had reached a terrible low, but imagine what the coming home must have been like. The father’s wait was over; his son had come home.
The only perfect Father in the universe has wayward children. It isn’t His fault; it isn’t anything He has done or left undone.
Love your children. Teach your children. Train your children. Pray for them. I pray you never have to wait for one of them to come home, but, if you are now waiting or if you ever have a waiting time, trust God. God knows exactly what it is like to wait.
The Lord is not slow about His promise,
as some count slowness,
but is patient toward you,
not wishing for any to perish
but for all to come to repentance.
2 Peter 3:9