The Prodigal Son
Among the many parables Jesus told, the parable of the prodigal son is perhaps the most deeply-felt of them all. And who is the prodigal son? We encounter him as he is far from home, destitute and broken, wandering in a heartless world. It turns out that some time ago, he had left his home and the father who loved him. He had traveled to a far-off land, and squandered all that he had in the pursuit of his own way in the world and an attempt to make himself happy through material success and pleasures. Only it didn’t work. The prodigal son soon found himself hiring himself out as a day laborer feeding swine. He had sunk to rock bottom.
Does this sound familiar? So often, it seems, you and I are like the prodigal son. You may, in your own life, be trying to find happiness in career success, in money, even in political ideals and social causes. Or, you may be trying to numb yourself from the pain of life through drinking, through drugs, or casual relationships. However, instead of finding real joy, you may be finding yourself at your own rock bottom.
A Joyful Reunion
But the story doesn’t have to end there. For the prodigal son never completely forgot who he was and where he had come from. One day, he awoke from the illusions he had been living under. He lifted up his eyes and, seeing clearly for the first time, resolved to himself, “I will return to my father’s house.” With that awakening began a journey homeward that ended in the open arms of his waiting father. How joyful was that reunion!
What’s most remarkable about this story is not just that the prodigal son longed for his father, but that the father had been daily waiting by the open door, anxiously scanning the horizon for signs of his son’s return. This tells us something very important. However much we may long for the heavenly Father who created us, God longs for us even more.
God Misses Us!
Think about this for a moment: God misses us. In fact, He misses us so much, that He came to this world as a man, to understand what we go through, to suffer with us, and ultimately, to die for us.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (Jn 3:16, NIV)
Imagine how joyful you would be to find your way back to God! Imagine how joyful God would be to find you again! For the Bible tells us that all the angels in heaven rejoice when even one person turns back to Him (Lk 15:10). That person could be me, and it could be you.
Finding True Joy
Dear friend, are you seeking joy that is genuine and lasting? Are you looking for more than what this changing world and life can offer you? Please, take a moment to come to know about God through Jesus Christ. Jesus can change and transform your life through His living word, which is the Bible. Jesus can be with you forever through the abidance of His Spirit, and we can be with Him every day of our lives. One day, this joy will be complete when we see Him face to face in heaven’s eternity:
Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away. (Rev 21:3,4)
Being with God–this is real joy, and it is within your grasp if you have the courage to reach for His outstretched hand.