He looked far out at the horizon. Was is true? Could his eyes be deceiving him?
He walked closer to the upcoming object on his dirt road. Could it be? It was!
He took off in a sprint that soon brought him to his returning son. Wrapping his arms around his son’s neck, he shouted praises of joy. His son had returned home.
The story of the prodigal son is a beautiful example of how the Lord loves us as His children.
God is our Heavenly Father. He loves us in a way a father should love his children.
If you are a believer in Christ, then you are God’s child. John 1:12-13 says that “all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”
Since we are God’s children and He is our Father, He loves us with a father’s love.
From the parable of the prodigal son, we can see three ways how God loves us like a father loves his children:
1. God shows us compassion, not control.
When the son told his father that he wanted his inheritance, the father gave it to him. When the son journeyed to a far off country, the father didn’t stop him.
He let his son go, not wanting to control him.
God does the same with us.
He gave us a free will. We are responsible to make our own decisions.
God will not stop us from making wrong choices or mistakes. He will show compassion toward us, but He will control our every move.
2. God is waiting for our return.
“But while he [the son] was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion” (Luke 15:20a).
The father was waiting for his son’s return. He probably would look out at the horizon each day, waiting for his son to come home.
God waits on us too.
When we turn from Him and His ways, He is still waiting for us with open arms. He will not turn His back on you, no matter what you may do.
Even if you make wrong choices, even if you make mistakes, He still loves and cares for you.
3. God restores us when we come back to Him.
When the son returned home, the father “embraced him and kissed him” (Luke 15:20b). The father put his best robe on his son. He put a ring on his hand and shoes on his feet. The father planned a great feast to celebrate his son’s return.
Instead of treating his son with disgrace or like a slave, the father show compassion on him and celebrated his son’s return.
Just like the father in the story, our Heavenly Father celebrates our return.
He doesn’t hold us to our past mistakes. He forgets our sins. He restores our mess. He shows us love and compassion. He treats us like His children, not as His bondservants.
The love of our Heavenly Father is so great.
He will love you no matter what. He will restore you if you mess up. And He will show you compassion when you go astray.
In His amazing love,
How has God showed you His love as a Father? In what other ways has God showed you His great love?