Luke 15:20 (NKJV)
But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.”
The good, the bad, and the usual
Let’s start with the usual – neither wholly good nor wholly bad – just normal, usual, standard – fathers. If you’re a father, you will know what I mean – we might try to be good fathers, but sometimes we find ourselves being bad fathers. Sometimes through faults of our own – flaws, faults and failures; and sometimes through hang-ups we have grown – hurts, habits and hang-ups. Fathers – and most people, in fact – usually fall into this category. We’re not wholly good nor wholly bad. We do our best, but often fall short; we try our best, but often fail.
Let’s consider the bad – there is very little reason to call them good. They may be abusive, absent, addicted to substances or alcohol; all of this affects their ability to be good fathers. Sometimes, they try to be good, but there is nothing they can do to make up for the abuse, the absence or the addictions that affect their relationships.
And finally, let’s focus on the good. There is a good father described in the Bible. He had two sons, and one son wanted his inheritance early. So, he divided his inheritance equally, and this son left to live his life elsewhere. This was a huge disappointment for his father – he was upset, let down and perhaps cross and angry because his son had left. This must have hurt him badly.
But things didn’t go well for the son who left. He squandered all his money, and ended up derelict and destitute. So, he swallowed his pride, and with great trepidation he walked back home. He didn’t feel worthy to be called a son, but his father had other ideas. He must have been walking slowly towards home, with his head held low – and when he was still a long way off, his father saw him.
What would you do? Would you have noticed him coming, after all these years? Would you – like this father – be looking towards the horizon, expectantly, every day as he worked in the fields; just wishing and willing his son to come home, just desperate to be reconciled. And there he was! In the distance! What do you do?
As soon as this good father saw his son coming home, he dropped everything and ran – RAN – to meet his son. He couldn’t wait! He ran towards him and embraced him and hugged him, and I am sure he had many happy tears in his eyes – or probably flowing like a river from his eyes. He was so, so pleased to see his son, he couldn’t hold back his joy and his happiness. Despite his son’s rejection of him as a father all those years ago – he loved his son, and welcomed him back home.
This was a good father – and you also have a good, good Father in heaven – that longs to see you coming home. He is your creator and your Saviour – He is your Father and He loves you. He is looking out expectantly for you, day after day, waiting for you to come home to Him.
You may not have had a good father here on earth – but your heavenly Father knows this, and can be your good Father in heaven. He knows your hurt, your loss, your disappointment, your frustration, your anger, your longing, your yearning; He knows whatever you are feeling, and He cares for you.
Come home to Him today.
May we pray: Thank You, Lord, for being a good, good Father. Forgive me for when I don’t get it right as a father here on earth. Forgive me, heavenly Father, if I don’t know You as I should – may I come home to You today? Thank You for welcoming me home and embracing me as Your son or daughter, in the precious name of our Saviour, Christ Jesus, I pray; Amen.
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