‘So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him”‘ (Luke 15:20).
Long before the Prodigal Son actually reached his father’s house, and long before he delivered his rehearsed speech, the father saw his wayward son. Then, instead of hardening his heart, he paved the way for the returning exile. It’s awesome that our Father anticipates our feeble steps toward Him from afar (see Ps 139:2). How marvellous it is that God discerns the faintest longing for God in every human heart. How wonderful it is that the compassion of God doesn’t wait for the penitent exile to “prove” himself first. Neither should we. Let’s ask the Holy Spirit to create such a receptive heart within us. Let’s ask Him to give us a compassionate attitude to all who express even the most tentative motion towards God. Heavenly Father, please help us to discern the returning Prodigals around us. Help us to expect sin-sick folk to come back to God. Enable us to make it easy (not harder) for wanderers to come back home. Forgive us for resisting your wandering children’s return to their Father’s house.