No matter how often we feel like running away from God because we’ve experienced pain, disappointment, or failure, God will always chase after us with His love, ready to lead us home.
Among the great biblical narratives illustrating the spiritual realities of home and father is the parable of the prodigal son found in Luke 15. Here, Jesus tells a crowd about a wealthy man with two sons, the youngest of whom wants his inheritance now. Surprisingly, this father—who represents our heavenly Father—simply gives half of his wealth to this young, rebellious son, with no arguments or resistance. Just like our heavenly Father, he honors the son’s free will.
Of course, in his immaturity, the son squanders the money, spending it on parties and prostitutes, and eventually finds himself in shame-filled poverty. Soon, this broken son starts thinking about home. He decides to return and asks his father to take him on as a hired servant. He doesn’t realize that his father has been waiting, watching, and hoping for his return—just as our heavenly Father waits, watches, and hopes for our return to Him!
Jesus puts the heart of the Father on full display: “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” (Luke 15:20).
This father is far-sighted, just like our heavenly Father. No matter how far we are from God, He sees us and is filled with compassion. In Jesus’s parable, the father has been waiting and watching, but now, with his beloved son in sight, he starts to run toward him. The nobleman goes against protocol and propriety by spontaneously sprinting toward his son.
This story must have stunned the Pharisees who heard it. This was no way for a father to behave. The son deserved punishment for his actions. They must have mocked and marveled at the foolish grace displayed by this loving father. But nothing could stop him from walking his son home.
This is what grace is all about. You and I are not saved from something as much as we are saved for something. God does not rescue us from the foreign lands of our rebellion and our self-imposed victimization without giving us a haven and a home where we can survive and prosper.