believe it is safe to say that a good father would correct, admonish,
discipline, punish, offer to reward, encourage, etc. through many struggles and
for a long time before kicking a child out. I wonder how long God will be
patient with His children before disowning them. In the Old Testament God gave
them chance after chance for centuries and eventually even sent Jesus to them.
In Romans Paul discusses how God had finally cast off the Jews and grafted in
the Gentiles. He warns the Gentiles not to take their position for granted
because God could cast them off if necessary (Romans 11). Paul explains that
even at this time God had not given up on them, but was still waiting and hoping
they would return to Him.
I cannot imagine and hope and pray and am working diligently with my young
children to try to avoid experiencing, the pain parents experience from a child
that has gone astray. I do know that it is excruciating, but I also know that
God knows and has experienced that pain more than any earthly parent. Lean on
Him, Hope and pray and always be ready for their return. If you know what caused
them to go away, despite the pain, please share that knowledge with parents of
younger children so that they may be able to avoid those things in their
families. I recall a story about a man who became a firefighter because someone
he loved died in a fire and he wanted to do everything he could to keep that
from happening to anyone else. You can’t change your past, but you may be able
to change the future.
Did we notice how God continues to hope and wait for His children to return.
The parable we often call the prodigal son is not really about the prodigal or
the older brother, The parable is about the father and how he relates to those
two sinful children that he has. God is like that father giving us freely and
giving us the freedom to make our own decisions even if they are the wrong ones
(These two sons seem to be grown, not 4 and 8 years old). Next week we will
examine it in more detail, but read Luke 15 again especially if you haven’t in a
while paying special attention to the father.