What Would You Have Said?
What would we have said? If we were lost but now found, what would we say? I would like to know exactly what the prodigal said to his father. Oh, I know he told his Father he had sinned and did not deserve to be anything but a servant in His house. In fact, he didn‘t even deserve that. But, while they were rejoicing, what was their conversation like?
Did the Father rehearse and remind the boy of what he had said to him when he left home? Was the joy short-lived because the hurt was so deep? Isn’t that the way we are sometimes? Maybe more often than we want to admit. We are so glad the one who wondered away has come back...but then we act like there is a debt to pay.
I wonder if they talked about all the grotesque things the boy had done. Did they replay every event? Every sin? And then play it again, again and again? Would we keep reminding the wondering one of what that one has done? Would the conversation be one that never intends to let the wondering one forget? Perhaps we are a little more like this than we want to admit to. We are hurt and want to make them know how deeply we have been hurt. So, by reminding them of their sins and how deeply they have hurt us, they remain broken.
Maybe the conversation was filled with harshness because of that one who left home. Maybe we “stayed home” and now that the lost boy has come home, we are not received with the same attention that he is. Resentment builds. “Hey, what about me? I have been here all along. Where is the celebration over me?” We were left holding the bag, and now the bag is empty as far as we are concerned. Oh, but wait, we have been with the Father. Have we forgotten? We were home. The Father knew where we were. He never took us for granted, but now his son has come home. The Father begs, “Please don’t leave me too. All that I have is yours.” Do we feel like this? The lost one has come home and gets all the attention and we feel we are overlooked.
I rather think the conversation was something like this. I am pretty sure that the Father told the one who came home how thankful he is. I suspect he told him how much he loved him. I suspect the house felt full again. I suspect the Father told anybody who would listen about his son's return. I suspect the Father spoke only of those qualities the boy learned and never forgot. Those qualities of his heart that reminded him of home and how great it was in his Father’s house. I am pretty sure the joy was so full that there was never a thought of what the young boy said, did, or that he ever left. He is home! He is home! That is all that mattered to the father. There was only one thing to do. Rejoice!
When we find ourselves having wondered away from our Heavenly Father and then come to ourselves and return, He will receive us with open arms. Heaven will be one big celebration. Our sins have been cast into the depth of the sea. The Father was looking for us. He never gave up on us. He knew the goodness in our hearts. He simply gave us time to realize how lost we were and how badly we needed Him. And, in His time, He worked to accomplish His good pleasure to have us home again. He never gave up.
We can never give up, either! I heard one man say recently, “As long as you are drawing breath, there is always an opportunity.”