He said,“You are looking for love in the wrong places maybe because you are living daily without experiencing God’s great love for you.”
I looked at him and replied, “Man.. I have done so many terrible sins these last few months. After all these years. Why would our God love me? I have sinned SO much- over and over…”
He looked sad.. and yet his eyes twinkled.
“God loves you immensely. There is no love you can experience like His. I can’t explain why He loves you bro. That is God. That is His love”.
This is part of a conversation that happened between a brother in Christ and me at Marg a few weeks ago. The point is that when Christians experience God’s sacrificial and gracious love deeply, as it really is, they would not easily look for cheap replacements that today’s world calls love.
To use a parallel from food- once you know you have all the access to tender, home-made south Indian idlis, you wouldn’t really want to have the rubber-textured idlis at your college hostel.
There is a story Jesus told people when he was on earth. It is the story of a father who had two sons. The younger son arrogantly takes his share of his father’s inheritance and leaves home to have fun -or what he thought was fun. He ends up penniless and hungry and realising his folly, makes up his mind to return to his father, if only to be a servant at his own home.
Photo credit - Abri le Roux, CC
And he walks up that old road, not sure what to expect. As he walks up to his house, he is seen by his father, who breaks into a sprint to meet him, hugs and kisses him all over, while calling out to servants to clothe and feed him with the best.
The younger son can’t believe this; neither can the older son who too, shows his arrogance. He is mad that their father has welcomed his sinful, loser brother!
One of the parallels Jesus was drawing here, was that the Father is God and the wayward son is the penitent sinner who comes for mercy.
Why am I writing all this here?
After the talk with my brother and then going through some sermons by Charles Spurgeon, I began to see two important aspects of the story.
1) The condition of the son returning to his father.
2) The meaning of the Father’s response.
The wayward son’s condition can hardly be put in words better than Charles Spurgeon’s-
“There he is! He is as wretched as misery itself; as filthy as his brute associates who could satisfy themselves with husks, while he could not. His clothes hang about him in rags, and what he is without, that he is within.” 1
He found “happiness” that ended in dismay.
Is that not how I feel when I give in to sin’s “pleasures”, only to deceive myself?
Can you identify with this state?
You might be a person who has other gods, or maybe no gods. To you, Christ’s sacrifice may mean little, but that is the price God, the creator of heaven and earth, paid – his Son’s death for your forgiveness. If you will but throw yourself at Him, begging, pleading, looking to that cross where Jesus was, won’t you be claimed by God as his beloved child?
Maybe you are a follower of Christ already. Maybe you have not talked to your Lord in weeks or months, maybe like me your appetite for the things Jesus loves – God’s family, God’s Word, God’s mission- has waned like a lamp dying out.
Do you think it is all over for you?
REMEMBER the wayward son- he turned, he turned around and now was walking to his Father’s house!
Thank God, he remembered his Father’s house!
“My sins, my sins, my Saviour,
How sad on Thee they fall!
Seen through Thy gentle patience,
I tenfold feel them all.”
Next week– What the Father’s kisses for the wayward son meant.