This devotional was originally published on June 24, 2016.
A few years back, at youth camp, a group of students decided that it would be a funny prank to sneak out of their room in the middle of the night. They were hoping that we would chase them around the entire camp, but we didn’t. We just sat outside their room and waited until they came back. Eventually, they did come back — except for one. His mother was there at camp as a counselor, and he was so afraid of her response to his sneaking out that he just stayed in the woods, even when all his friends came back.
I can relate to how that kid felt. Can’t you? There have been so many times in my relationship with God when I have screwed up and gone my own way, and in the middle of those moments, the idea of coming home to God the Father was one of the scariest, most intimidating thoughts ever. Questions like, “What will he do to me when he gets his hands on me?” and “How’s he going to respond when I come back?” rolled through my head.
The parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15 answers those exact questions.
What will He do when he gets his hands on you?
He will embrace you and kiss you! (Luke 15:20)
How will he respond when you come back?
He will throw a party, and insist that you join him on the dance floor! (Luke 15:22-24)
I am convinced that so many of us avoid coming to God the Father because we are afraid of how he is going to respond to us and our sin, but there is no need for fear. When a sinner comes home to God, the response is always one of mercy, grace, love and celebration!
The ironic thing about the kid who ran off in the middle of the night at camp was that the whole time he was away, he was thinking about how mad his mom must be at him. Meanwhile, all she could think about was finding her son. She was not mad at all. That’s how God the Father feels about you. He isn’t angry with you. He just wants you to come home!
If you’ll just come home, you’ll find that the Father’s response is so much different from what you’re expecting! Will you come home today?