February 10, 2017

The Waiting Father

Luke 15:18-32

This son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.

—  Luke 15:24

In his book The Return of the Prodigal Son, Henri J. M. Nouwen explains that the parable of the lost son sums up the story of salvation. The father in the parable is a picture of our heavenly Father, “who watches and waits for his children, runs out to meet them, embraces them, pleads with them, and urges them to come home.” The parable, Nouwen says, expresses “the boundlessness of God’s compassionate love.”

Where do you see yourself in this story? Are you like the wandering younger son, or the self-righteous older son? Or both? The parable is indeed the story of God’s amazing love as he welcomes us back, no matter where we have been or what we have done.

If at this moment you find yourself far away from God, he is waiting for you. If, like the younger son, you have turned away from the Lord, he invites you to come back. If you have become enslaved to some sin, he is urging you to confess and receive his forgiveness.

Or if, like the older son, your heart has not been right with God and, like the Pharisees, you have worshiped God with your lips while your heart was far from him and hard toward the undeserving, he invites you too to come back and celebrate with him.

Your Father is waiting for you!

Thank you, loving Father, for your love, patience, and compassion for each one of us, no matter who we are or what we have done. Thank you for ­always taking us back. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the author — Arthur J. Schoonveld

Rev. Art Schoonveld is a retired minister in the Christian Reformed Church. Before retiring in 2001, he served churches in California, Illinois, and Michigan. Since his retirement he has worked part-time for the denomination and has served as an interim pastor. Art and his wife, Anita, have four children and nine grandchildren.

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