It was the first time she came to my PR class on Forgivenes, the first time she heard me tell the story of the wasteful (prodigal) son:
There was a father and he had two sons and the younger son asked his father for his inheritance and then wasted it all on loose living. After it was all gone, he woke up in a pigsty and thought “even my father’s servants eat better than I am. I will go back to be his servant.” As he walked back to his father’s house, his father saw him coming. His father didn’t wait for him to arrive or walk to him slowly, but he ran to him. His father didn’t welcome a servant back to his home, he welcomed his son back, restoring him to a position of honor by putting a robe on his son’s back and a ring on his finger. Finally, the father showed his joy by having a feast in his son’s honor, not sending him to eat with the servants.
I went on to explain how this parable affects us:
This story is about each of us. We wasted what our heavenly Father gave us and we too woke up in our mess. When we turned away from our mess, away from our sin, we too said “maybe we can be a servant.” But instead God said “welcome back son” or “welcome back daughter,” restoring us to a position of honor also. Maybe you don’t know that God the Father delights in you and ran to you when you turned from your sin and put your faith in Jesus his son. Maybe you falsely believe that God is a harsh master toward you even after you turned to Him. God loves you and delights in you though you are imperfect.
This student who heard the Forgiveness class had been a Christian for a long time but until she heard this explanation of this parable, she always felt like she was in the pigsty and God was angry at her. But that night she knew it was a lie and that God delighted in her and called her daughter instead. Finally, she felt at peace in her Father’s arms. As she rested in the truth, the peace overflowed into her relationships with her daughter and her husband, bringing some peace to them also.
This story is based on Luke 15. How do you see God? What is he like? Do you know that as his child, he delights in you? he ran to you when you returned home to him?