|Thankful for the incredible expanse of God's love.|
“What do you think God is thinking?”
I pause a moment – debating how to respond to my young friend’s passion-filled question.
“I think it breaks His heart,” I comment slowly.
We were talking about a former female student who had left the school last term. I was a bit uninformed as to all of the circumstances of her departure, but my young friend filled me in – drawing her information no doubt from the ready “gossip” circulating in the girls’ dormitory.
“Mary” (name changed) had become pregnant a few months ago. But as the story unfolded - in an extremely strange turn of events, she was allegedly impregnated by the same young man who had just impregnated her own mother. In great distress, Mary’s mother then took her unborn baby’s life followed by her own.
Now it seemed Mary had also aborted her little one as well. And, she was apparently acting as if nothing had happened. This blatant nonchalance greatly bothered my young friend, which prompted the above question.
I think she expected me to respond with a judgment or sharp criticism of Mary’s behavior.
“I think it breaks His heart,” I began, continuing with an illustration of how a parent must feel after doing their best to raise a child and then that child rebels and goes after, not what is best, but what is actually most harmful to him or her.
“God will accept her back, if she returns to Him,” I concluded.
My heart aches and breaks for the youth here and how they often settle not for “better” or “best,” but what is sugar-coated garbage in comparison. Seemingly-easy choices with instant results and gratification, versus the “best” – God’s best – waiting on Him for His perfect timing and the right paths carefully planned for them.
I want this for them. But God wants it so much more for them. In fact, He died so they could have it – freely and abundantly.
I love the beloved parable of the Prodigal Son (found in Luke 15) and especially the part where the gracious father runs and embraces his rebellious-turned-repentant son. In that wonderful moment, all sins and debts are completely forgiven and forgotten. The son is fully restored.
I imagine God’s heart breaks over those who are still far – those attempting to find satisfaction in the pig sty, feasting on the swine’s disgusting “leftovers.”
The original Greek uses “prodigally” as an adverb, meaning, “riotous, reckless, wasteful.” The young dude didn’t just go and spend a few quarters at the local arcade, no, he likely indulged in every form of sin-soaked act you can imagine. He went all the way, lived to the hilt, sparing no expense. Even worse was that he squandered his father’s hard-earned wealth - while his father was still living.
We may judge, but we are all prodigals. We are born neck-deep in muddy, disgusting sin, wasting what our Father has freely given us of His wealth, eatin’ with the pigs – oblivious to our sin-encrusted, destruction-bound state. And our Father’s heart is breaking for us.
I may judge Mary, but every day I make choices that break my Father’s heart – when I settle for what is “okay” or even sinful, rather than embracing His best for me, when I saunter toward shiny enticements, and walk away from Him, when I blindly judge other “prodigals,” not gratefully realizing the extravagant grace I have been given.
I don’t know why He waits, looking for me, or why He has compassion, runs toward me and embraces me. That kind of love is incomprehensible. That kind of forgiveness is unfathomable.
It just shows what kind of Creator and God we have. Though His heart has been broken countless times over thousands of years, He still waits, watches, hopes, pities, runs, embraces, kisses, forgives, robes, rejoices, and celebrates over each and every prodigal son or daughter who has returned.
Where do you fit in the story? Are you the prodigal who has, or who has not yet returned?
If you haven't come back, your Heavenly Father’s heart is breaking for you. And He is waiting…and watching to catch a glimpse of the long-lost son or daughter He loves so incredibly much.