Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

The Open Arms Of Our Heavenly Father

Luke 15:20

So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.”

I miss my father – my earthly father. I really relied on him and trusted him and loved him. His absence from my life has left a huge hole that I just can’t seem to fill. I may never fill it. I imagine I feel a little like those who have lost relationship with their heavenly Father. Hell is described by some as eternity outside of the presence of God. Being outside the presence of my earthly father – I know I don’t like that feeling and so I know I wouldn’t like to spend eternity or anytime outside my heavenly Father’s presence.

When I first read today’s passage as a child – I couldn’t imagine doing what the younger son did to his dad. Luke 15:11–12 – 11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. Most of us realize that we don’t get our inheritance – if there is any – until after our parents have passed. What the younger son was saying to his father was – you are dead to me so give me what I have coming to me now. My earthly father died nearly 6 years ago and my mom just over a year ago. I could never imagine telling my parents – you are dead to me so give me what I have coming to me now. That would destroy me – it hurts just thinking about it.

Here’s today’s passage in partial context. Luke 15:11–24 – 11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. 13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. 17 When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. 21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

Of course the eldest son had a different reaction and that is for another devotional thought. The youngest son is really not the focus of this story either. It is the forgiving father that is the hero of this story. But while he (the youngest or lost son) was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

This is the way our heavenly Father shows love to us. Although I could never imagine saying such things to my earthly father – I know I have sinned against him and indeed against my heavenly Father. Both my earthly father and my heavenly Father have always welcomed me back with open arms and forgiveness. They have forgiven me and made me a son again. God will receive us home if we turn to Him and make us a son or daughter of His again – no matter how long we have been away or how unfaithful we have been.

Just something for us to think about today as we go on our way.

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April 30, 2018 - Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , ,

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