For obvious reasons I’m thinking about fathers these last few days. In the familiar story of The Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32) we learn a lot about the nature of fathers. I commend Henri Nouwen’s book, The Return Of The Prodigal Son where he takes you through the story and explores how we are like each of the principal characters.
One of my favorite aspects of the story is the description of the father when he sees the prodigal son from a distance. The father doesn’t wait for the prodigal son to reach him and falls at his feet asking for forgiveness. Instead the father runs to greet him and embraces him. He immediately forgives him, clothes him, and celebrates the son’s return.
The story makes me think about the times I’ve wandered away from God, and yet when I come to my senses, I find God running toward me. I also pause to think of the times that I’ve felt wronged and have acted less than gracious when someone tried to make amends. This small bit of the story has two important lessons. First, God will run to meet us if we only turn. Second, we need to put on our running shoes.