I SHALL ARISE AND TURN TO MY FATHER
I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me like one of your hired hands (Luke 15:18 NRSV).
Once a river is cut off from its source, it will dry up very soon. This was the experience of the prodigal son when he asked for his share of the father’s property. Poverty caught up with him after a short period of a life of pleasure. Thus, the Scripture says, “Cut away from Me you can do nothing. A branch cannot bear fruit except it remain in the Vine” (see John 15:4-6).
We can’t survive without God. The prodigal son recognized this truth and he made a U-turn, retracing his steps to his source of life. The beauty of the parable of the prodigal son is that the prodigal son found restoration and life when he embraced the father and expressed remorse for his arrogance, lack of contentment and desire for independence.
Sin makes us detach ourselves from the presence of God just like the prodigal son. When we sin we are simply saying, “God, we are not content with Your provision, rules and ordinances, so we demand independence from You. Yes, we can do without You.” But who can live a happy and fulfilled life without reliance on the source of life – God Almighty. The prodigal son tried it and almost withered but was quick to reconnect with the Vine, and immediately he was resuscitated, nourished and restored.
Many of us have alienated ourselves from the Vine, like the prodigal son. Some are wallowing or having a swell time in their iniquities while some are drying up without remedy to their misery. But there is hope for every sinner. Just like the father of the prodigal son who watched daily, waiting for his son’s return, God is waiting for you and me to take that bold step and return to Him. Like the prodigal son, we can all say, ‘I shall arise and return to my father.’
When we take that bold decision and make a U-turn from the road to damnation and begin to journey on the road to life, God will welcome us with His two hands, make us white as snow and clothe us with the garment of salvation. The heavens will also rejoice because we who were once lost and dead are now found and restored to life.
Christ, in his parables, demonstrated the love God has for His estranged daughters and sons. He abandons the ninety-nine and searches for the missing sheep, and when He has found it, he carries it on His shoulders and calls for celebration because He has found His missing sheep (See Luke 15:1-7).
God is searching for His estranged daughters and sons daily. He expects them to come back home. He has the joy, happiness and peace they seek outside His sheepfold. Don’t be ashamed to return to your God and Lord. Don’t think you are too filthy for Him to embrace. No, you are not! The Scripture says:
Come now, and let us reason together, says the LORD, “Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool. (See Isaiah 1:18).
Can you see that God is reaching out His hands of mercy to you. Kindly reach out to Him too. You may go down on your knees and let Him know how remorseful you are for rebelling against Him; how much you have offended Him by rejecting His hands of love. Remember, the prodigal son did and was restored to his father’s kingdom, and no longer as a beggar, a slave or an outcast, but as a son, a prince and a heir to God’s Kingdom. The same reward awaits you if and only if you take that bold step today, this hour, this very minute, and return to your Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, for I have sinned. I have sought for happiness outside Your sheepfold and my lacked love towards my brothers and sisters created in the image and likeness of God. Lord, show me mercy and help me to live the rest of my life united with You. Amen.