The Kind of Father Who Runs

We tend to imagine God to be as petty as we are.

Assuming he holds grudges due to previous mistakes, sometimes our prayers are stifled because we believe he doesn’t want to hear from us.

While our Father is diligent to discipline us, he is also eager to pardon us.  He loves to show compassion to his children.

Do you remember the parable of the Prodigal Son?  The younger son asks for his part of his inheritance and squanders it in “reckless living” (Luke 15:13).  When he hits rock bottom and comes to his senses, he reasons to himself: “I’ll get up, go to my father, and say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight.  I’m no longer worthy to be called your son.  Make me like one of your hired hands” (Luke 15:18-19).

As he makes the long and humbling trip back home, can you imagine the scenarios that were running through his mind?

Willing to accept the consequences and assume a demoted role with his father, he came home.  But instead of condemnation and speeches filled with “I told you so’s,” read how this father responded.

So he got up and went to his father.  But while the son was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion.  He ran, threw his arms around his neck, and kissed him.  -Luke 15:20

This father was eagerly longing for his son’s return.  Seeing him from afar, this father, filled with compassion, could not walk to his son.

He ran to his son!

Overwhelmed with joy, his arms passionately thrown around his son’s neck and showers him with kisses.

This is not the picture of an unforgiving, detached father.

This is a picture of our Father in heaven who longs for our return and rejoices when we come to our senses.

As the nation of Israel emerged from 40 years of wilderness wanderings, Moses reminded the people of how God had persevered with them.  Many people will often speak of God in the Old Testament as a wrathful, temperamental judge in the sky who exercises power upon those who fail to submit.  Unfortunately, we often neglect the passages that explain why God did what he did and what care he showed the people.  Before they enter the Promised Land, look how God is characterized among the people of Israel:

The LORD your God who goes before you will fight for you, just as you saw Him do for you in Egypt.  And you saw in the wilderness how the LORD your God carried you as a man carries his son all along the way you traveled until you reached this place.  -Deuteronomy 1:30-31

God is a good Father.  Today, spend some time thanking our Father for running to us with compassion.  Thank him for fighting for us when all our strength was gone.  Thank him for the way he carried us to this point in our lives.  Spend some time expressing your love and gratitude to our Father.