Last night at Bible Study, we talked about the love of God; unconditional, unfathomable and unchanging. The discussion gave me a lot to muse on.
The parable of the prodigal son recorded on Luke 15 is a favorite and it demonstrates to a "T" the extent and nature of God's love for us.
To summarize, a man had two sons and out of the blue the younger one asked for his inheritance. His father obliged (I have always wondered why), divided his property into two; the younger son took his share and "set off for a far country where he squandered all his wealth in wild living."
The story goes that after a while, with all his money gone; poor, broken, starving, wearing rags and feeding pigs, he decided to go back home to seek his father's forgiveness and get some real food to eat too. The Bible says “but while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him." He started to ask for forgiveness saying how unworthy he was to be called a son and would be happy just to be one of the servant. His father filled with unspeakable joy at his son's return did not even hear what he said. He quickly summoned his servant to bring some fine clothes, shoes and a ring to dress him up; had a fattened calf killed and threw a feast in his honor. Only love could make a father do this.
How does this incredible feel-good story reflect God's love?
God's love for us remains unchanged no matter what we do.
Whether we are good or bad, whether we abandon Him and go wayward, He still loves us the same. The father's joy at the return of his wayward son shows he never stopped loving him. When he met his son, the father did not scold him for his foolishness but welcomed him back into the fold. Whether or not we spend time praying, read His word, attend church, give our tithes and offerings, He still loves us the same. (Note though that doing all of the above strengthens your relationship with God and come with their own benefits and blessings.)
God is always looking out for his wayward children to return to Him.
The fact that the father saw his son from afar means he was watching the road constantly waiting and hoping for his son's return. When we turn our backs to Him God does not turn his back to us (thankfully). He keeps looking, watching and waiting patiently for our return.
We know we do not deserve this kind of love .
Think about it, what does God give us that we deserve anyway? He is a faithful loving God whose mercies are renewed every morning. Everything He does for us is fueled by love-unchanging, undeserving, everlasting love. As we rejoice in this love may He give us grace not to take advantage of it or take it for granted. His love for us is like no other.