"I do not know that the prodigal saw his father, but his father saw him. The eyes of mercy are quicker than the eyes of repentance. Even the eyes of our faith is dim compared with the eye of God's love. He sees a sinner long before a sinner sees Him."
The desire to leave home and face the responsibilities of adulthood is perfectly natural but restless yearning to flee responsibilities is immature. In Luke 15 the prodigal son grew restless, his polluted imagination conjured up exotic, far away dreams. He could envision the implications of total freedom from authority and pits of pleasurable sin.The father permits his son to leave. Sometimes the worst thing God can do is to give us what we want.
The prodigal son got what he thought he wanted, but lost what he had. Gathering up his belongings, the prodigal departs for a "far country". Many times this "far country" exists in our hearts as well. Like so many of us, his happiness was conditional upon his circumstances. He was not content with where God had placed him.
Freedom became freedom to sin, and pleasures provided a false enchantment. The prodigal son was eager to experience the pleasures of life, apart from God. The lost son lusted for freedom without restraints and ended up enslaving himself. When his money was gone, his friends deserted him. Destitute, he was forced to do for a stranger what he refused to do for his own father. He was forced to work as a swineherd.
Sin promises freedom but it only brings slavery. It promises success, but it only brings failure. It promises life, but "the wages of sin is death".We often meet our destiny on the road we choose to take to avoid it. The lost son "came to his senses", and "found" himself. The prodigal complains about no one but himself, and speaks of no unworthiness but his own. He doesn't point fingers at his former companions. He admits his willingness to leave home and offers no excuses to cover his guilt or justify his sinful choices
When he left home he had a somewhat positive self-image. His companions most likely assured him that he was a pretty likable and generous fellow. When he began playing the comparison game looking at the bums, harlots and degenerates, he measured favorably. Even later when he was forced to work at pig farm , he may have compared himself to the other swineherds. Maybe he assumed he was a better person than them. After all, he was from a privileged background. But when his thoughts focused on home and he began to compare himself to his father he abandoned, he admitted he was no longer worthy to be called his son. He suddenly adopted a new standard of comparison.
We may be guilty of looking around us at people in various degrees of depravity and assume we're OK. Our standard is Jesus Christ - not other people. When we compare ourselves to Christ we see our true condition and how hopelessly far we fall short of His holy example and righteous expectations.
Guilt and shame are painful to face, yet we desperately need to see ourselves for what we are. Before we can respond to God's mercy we must gain a sense of our inability and unworthiness, and the horror of how our sin has debased our lives and offended God.
The now penitent son unconditionally confesses his sin, offering no excuses. Realizing how well his father treated his servants, he turns from his sin and turns toward home. It seemed unlikely to this young man that his father would allow him to return, even as a servant. I am sure all kinds of questions were racing through his mind as he made his journey home. When the father noticed his son he immediately ran to meet him and lovingly embraced him.
Jesus is also waiting for those who have decided to journey away from home. He waits with open arms to embrace those who have made wrong choices. He is waiting today to embrace those who are willing to ask for forgiveness for the sinful choices they have made. He loves us and wants only the best for us. This life isn't about us. It is all about Him.
Embrace Him today. Maybe you are that prodigal today and sincerely yearn to go home. God is waiting. It doesn't matter what you have done. Ask God to forgive you for the bad choices you have made. He can completely change your life. You can make a difference for Him.