Recently, I spent time studying the story of the Prodigal Son… again.1 For me, beauty comes in restoration. It is easy for me to imagine the son demanding his portion of the inheritance, blowing it on worthless stuff, and hitting rock bottom. I see this part of the story in many lives today and even in my own. Parents, teachers, preachers, and others pour into children, but some may push all their loved ones aside and do what they want when they become older. And time and time again, they hit rock bottom.
How Restoration Occurs
Restoration can come about in many ways. Sometimes God uses the church, parents, or teachers. Sometimes, God delivers the prodigals through siblings, friends, or pastors. But other times, the prodigal son or daughter cries out to God, and God delivers him or her no matter what they’ve done. Restoration comes because someone prays; someone reaches out to the wayward person, but ultimately God welcomes them home.
This story also includes the father who hopes and waits for a changed person to return. Dad has to sit by the window or lean on the porch post and squint to see if a lone figure will come into view. Today we sit by the telephone or read emails looking for that one voice on a page or in a message to say our son or daughter is coming home. Or a car may pull up, and we move to the front window to see if it is our child returning home. In my story, God showed me through His Word, His undying love. He created a rope of hope and lowered His love in my heart. I grabbed hold, never looked back, and became a different person. I guess that is why the restoration is my favorite part.
The story of the Prodigal Son teaches us that no matter where we are, our children are, or no matter the situation, our Heavenly Father stares at the road waiting for us to return to Him. We come broken, seeking forgiveness and love. He greets us with a heart of love and forgiveness. He restores us no matter what, and He embraces us as His child. That’s the part that gets me every time. Watching a person being made over into a whole or a complete person is a beautiful story. I pray that this story is told in the lives of those we know. In the meantime, we keep praying and waiting for the restoration story to unfold.
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Pamela Williams writes from Southern California.
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