“My son,” the father said, “you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.”
Running away from pain is the default reaction for a lot of people. If you do something horrendously embarrassing and hurt yourself, you leave the scene of the crime. You run away from the pain. You think that getting away from that dreaded spot will bring healing.
Pain happens all the time. Emotional pain is sometimes worse than physical pain. The emotional pain we bring onto ourselves stings a little more than someone else hurting us. We screw up. We make mistakes. The phrase “human error” is too real for some of us.
That brings us to the story of the prodigal son. This beautiful depiction of what so many of us do to our heavenly father. We take what we need and what we want, and then run away. His life turned upside down as the pleasures of wealth and “wild living” dwindled down. He was living among the pigs and was near starving when he decided to go back and become a servant of his father.
There’s the image of the son running into his father’s arms. The father warmly and earnestly welcomes back his son. It didn’t matter what the son did. It didn’t matter the disgrace he brought his family. It didn’t matter that he exploited the money of his father.
None of that mattered. The father still opened up his arms and invited his son in. His past transgressions didn’t mean anything. None of it mattered. All that mattered was that he was home now; he was with his father who loved him.
This is how God wants us to run back to him. No matter what we do, how far away we fall, how much we disgrace His name, God always wants us back. He welcomes us back with a warm, loving embrace. We fall on our knees because we can never understand the limitless love that He has for us. We think, like the son, that we are no longer worthy to be called a child of our father.
We are welcomed back into God’s family every time we run away, no matter how far we run from our pain and our brokenness, there is redemption and love. God celebrates our return. The father in the story throws a party for his son because it didn’t matter what he did in the past, the important part was that he was there now.
The redemption that came to this family is only available to us freely through Christ. It doesn’t matter what we have done in the past. God just wants us home with him.
Go today in relinquishment of pain and run to your resting place that is in Him, Christ Jesus. Allow his love and redemption to transform you into being a beloved child of God.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University.