Lost and Found – The Gracious Father

This article is part 10 of 11 in the series Lost And Found

                                  “The fatted calf, the robe, the shoes, the ring,
                                         They’re all for me, (an) unworthy son.
                                   But the most wonderful thing, God ran to meet me.
                                                      I saw God run.”

   The sweaty son smelled like a pig… (this comes with the pig pen), and the long journey home. He looked like he had really had a hard time. His self image is crushed, due to his experience with God’s law, (“sow and you shall reap”). His robe was dirty, smelly, torn and ragged. His sandals were long worn out and now his bare feet were blistered, bruised and dirty. He no longer looked like his fathers son, his hair was long and nasty, his beard was the same, and he was deeply depressed. 
   Things could not be worse… but at least he was home. Expecting the worse, he had begun his much rehearsed speech. “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.  I am no longer worthy to be called your son” (Luke 15:21). He was having trouble speaking since he was being hugged so tightly by his father. He had not expected this response, and had not seen his father run to him before. 
   The father seemed to not even hear what he had said, and perhaps he repeated himself. FATHER!! I HAVE SINNED!!! I AM NOT WORTHY!!! Have you ever said this? I have. So why was the father ignoring what he said? The son couldn’t believe his ears, as the father cries out….  
“… Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger  and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate” (Luke 15:22-25).  
   Wrap your heart around this. The response he expected… he did not receive. What he didn’t expect, he got! This is mercy and grace. He expected to be scolded, slapped, spit at, he expected to be PUNISHED. He was guilty and he knew it. He could not understand, how can his father still love him, much less give him the BEST ROBE, A RING (sign of being a son), shoes, and then kill a specially prepared calf, saved for celebration with special guests! 
   This had been waiting for him all the time. He didn’t have to stay in the far off country! He didn’t have to sell himself just to be able to eat slop! He didn’t have to be in the pig pen.  ALL HE HAD TO DO WAS COME HOME! O, how he wished he had come home sooner. Even more! He wished he had never left!!! Memories and flashbacks of a sinful life and the consequences kept coming, bringing with them shame and disgust as he looked in the mirror. “How could you shame your father?” “How could you make him cry?”
   Now he sits on his bed, in his room, wearing the robe, the ring, and has new sandals on his feet. “You don’t deserve this!” he says. “You owe him everything.” He  then says “I will never leave again.” “I’m home now, and I am staying home.” “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me…” Praise His name!

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