Welcome to Christian Charity World as we look at the story of the prodigal son.
Luke 15:11-32. The Prodigal Son
A couple of years ago I was with my wife and two boys at Camber Sands. We had pitched ourselves in the dunes on a hot, sunny, Sunday afternoon. As we were enjoying our relaxation we became aware of some children searching for something. They had lost their five year old brother. These children were obviously extremely concerned and worried and the parents were frantic. The police had been called to help find the missing boy and we joined in the hunt as well. I could only imagine the despair of the mother and father as I thought of how I'd be feeling if it was one of my two boys that had disappeared. Fortunately the story had a happy ending as one of the lifeguards on the beach spotted him.
As parents we know that we would do anything to protect our loved ones and if one of them strayed from the fold we would not rest until that child had been found. This is motherly and fatherly love; the bond that forms between parent and child. The very thought that our son or daughter is lost and they would be suffering either emotionally, physically or both, meters out such anguish and pain to a parent.
In The Story of The Prodigal Son the father despairs as his younger son takes off with his inheritance and squanders it on wild living. His son has lost his way and followed the wrong path in life. Eventually he sees the errors of his ways when all had run out. He seeks the forgiveness of his father and is truly repentant; to the point of being prepared to be one of his fathers slaves. The younger son had been humbled. Yet when his father saw his son he was overcome with joy and great celebrations took place. At first the older son could not understand his father's joy and celebration. The senior son had worked hard for his father and had never strayed. Why had a fattened calf been killed in his brother's honour?
The father explained. His son was lost and now he is found. I'm sure that every parent who reads this could understand that. We all can see how feelings of both relief and jubilation would fill our hearts if one of our own was lost and then was found.
The purpose of this parable is to make us understand how God feels when we have been treading along the wrong path and are lost. We are his children and when we are lost He is desperate for us to be found again. When we realise that the road we are on is using up all our inheritance and we humbly seek God's forgiveness, He is as jubilant as any parent who has lost a child and found them again. By turning back and following Our Father makes Him extremely happy; just like the father with the return of his prodigal son. And when we decide to follow His way we can rejoice in the security that comes from knowing Him through Christ and we can rest in His shadow.