October 6, 2016
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
A few years ago, in our daughter’s mailbox there was a letter addressed, “To the Parents of _______ [our daughter’s name],” so she dutifully gave it to us. It was information about a student loan. We all had a good laugh about it because this student was an over-forty-year-old parent of four grown children, with a grandchild on the way! She had recently decided to go back to school because her children no longer needed her undivided attention.
Actually, it felt good to read the words “To the Parents of.” It reminded me that no matter how old your children are, they are always your children. Wherever they travel, your heart and prayers go with them. If they suffer pain, you suffer also. You are always concerned with their decisions and plans, though you no longer make decisions for them. It is impossible to become an “unparent.”
This even holds true for a child who makes poor choices in life. Today’s focus verse comes from the story of the Prodigal Son, who decided to take his inheritance early and leave home. The young man chose a destructive lifestyle, and although Scripture does not say what the father felt, we can imagine his heartbreak. By the fact that the father was watching for his wayward son’s return, we know that his love was steadfast in spite of his son’s actions.
When we surrender our lives to God and ask Jesus to be our Savior, we become children of God (Romans 8:16). Being human, the only way we can begin to comprehend the great love God has for His children is to relate it to how we feel about our own children. Yet God’s love is far greater.
If God loves us so much that He would give His only begotten Son, Jesus, to suffer and die on a cross, then imagine how He must hurt when a person chooses to turn away from Him. Knowing that one is headed toward a lost eternity, He grieves even more than we do. Like us, God cannot forget even the ones who decide to leave Him.
The Bible says that God is not willing that any should perish. When we pray for our unsaved children, we can claim promises in God’s Word and trust that He is calling after them. Though they make poor decisions, we never stop loving them, and neither will God. He wants them to be in His care even more than we do.