Today is Fathers’ Day, and today is the day where we all appreciate our fathers’ sacrifices for us. It has been weeks since my last blog post, and right now, I felt the need to write about our Father in heaven. I think Fathers’ Day isn’t all about our father here on Earth, but also about our Father who lives in heaven – our Father who loved us and sent His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, for the world to be saved.
Last Saturday, on the 10th of June, I attended this apologetics session about being lost and finding the right path. Dan Paterson, an Australian pastor, was the speaker. He talked about The Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32). I knew this story to heart. I loved it so much, because I can sometimes see myself as the younger brother who rejected his Father and was plain selfish. Dan’s message was very organized. He talked about The Prodigal Son, but he divided the story into four significant parts. Let me share those to you:
I. The Death Wish
The Parable of the Prodigal Son starts off with the younger son asking his father for his share on property. (Luke 15:11-12) We should note here that in ancient times, it was very disrespectful to ask for your share in property when the father was still alive. The younger son was basically saying, “Dad, I wished you were dead, so that I could get my share of property already.” This is in fact, true for us too. As Dan said it, we just want the fruit, but not the vine. We want God dead. We’ve all rejected Him. We think we’ve got it all under control.
II. Running from God
What’s very surprising here’s that the father did give the younger son his share on property. The younger son, on the other hand, squandered it all on reckless living and careless spending. He was probably expecting to find himself in the process, but he didn’t. He lost himself. He worshiped himself and his possessions, until there was no more. David Foster said, “Anything you worship will eat you alive.” As Dan said, “The worst thing God would do is to give you what you want, because what you want will destroy you.” It did, indeed, destroyed the younger son’s life.
III. Stumbling Home
Sooner or later, the younger son went hungry. He observed that even the pigs were happy eating pods, and here he was; starving himself to death. He soon practiced his little speech to his dad. In verse 18, he thought, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.’ If you will observe much more closely, this isn’t genuine repentance. Yes, he has realized that he has sinned, but he still tries to fix himself with his own human efforts. He thinks he can earn his way back to his father by working for him as his hired servant. We all want to restore our own reputation. Genuine repentance is when you are sincerely sorry and also realize that you can’t do anything to fix yourself. It’s when you let go and let God deal with your struggles.
IV. A Shadowing Confrontation
This is probably the best part of the story. You’d probably think this father is insane, but here: he obviously breaks human expectation. He accepts the younger son. When the father saw his son coming back, he runs. He dashes. He bolts – like an olympian. He is going to reconcile with His son. This part is so special, because this is the part where he leaves home to come to you. It gets better, because this is where the young son’s genuine repentance shows. He says, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” He skipped the ‘Let me be one of your hired hands.’ part! This is where he genuinely realized that he can no longer try to save himself. He cannot. It is only his Father who can.
I ended the story just until verse 24, but the parable ends in the 32nd verse. Still, I can say that this is such a beautiful story. It reflects us, humans, who have rejected God. We only want the heavenly possessions, but not the God Himself. We waste our life here on earth doing worldly stuff, forgetting about God. Then when we realized we’ve failed, we will try to gain back our favor to God by doing good and working for Him. We try saving ourselves with our own efforts. This is the biggest lie in the world, though. We cannot save ourselves. It is only God who will save and reconcile us. He restores our dignity. Perhaps in losing our life, we have also found it back.
So right now, if you sometimes feel like the younger son, the secret is this: just run back to the Father. He will meet you halfway. I swear, He is the happiest God in heaven to see you stumbling back to Him. Let go and let God reconcile your relationship. We have to realize that we cannot do the saving. It is Him who does the saving, not us! In Luke 15:10, “In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
Something Dan said really touched me: “He knows us to the depths, but God still loves us to the skies.” He loves us. He accepts us. He offers us His best robes. He is so much happy to be with us and be reconciled with Him. You know what’s the best part about this? He is our Father, and we are his sons and daughters. We are heirs to His throne. Soon, we will be with Him in heaven. This Fathers’ Day, we should take time to thank God, our Father in heaven, for all the things He has done in our lives.