God’s Never-Ending Gaze

The God of Second Chances

The diversity of peoples within Christianity is an astounding one. People from all over the world and all walks of life have come to the conclusion by the grace of God that Jesus is the Messiah. God gifts His children with a wide array of gifts, and some are hands, while others are feet. Diversity continues to be prevalent as different worship styles are adopted and different interpretations of passages are adhered to. In the midst of all of these differences, a thread runs through the heart of every believer, uniting them as though they were beads on a necklace. This thread is the recognition of sin, but, even more so, a God who never ceases to forgive those who are truly His.

The prodigal heart

In Luke’s Gospel, a popular story in our modern era is told. Luke 15:11-32 tells a story of two sons and a father. The father in the story is meant to illustrate God the Father, while the two sons are meant to illustrate two different peoples. The first son is meant to illustrate the wandering sinner that eventually comes back to God.

At the beginning of this story, an interesting event occurs early on that is telling concerning God’s relations and dealings with man. When the father is eventually approached by one of his sons about getting his inheritance early, the father allows it, and the son then departs. What is being said here in this illustration is that God will in fact allow His children to sin. God will allow His children to stray and follow their own hearts even if this leads them away from Him.

Ultimately, the son wanted the world and not the father. He wanted to be in the world and not at the father’s side. So often this is the problem of God’s people. Even the famous hymn writer of “Come Thou Fount,” Robert Robinson, wrote, “bind my wandering heart to thee.” God will allow His children to go, and, as the Scripture says, engage in reckless living. Now this can be done in a number of ways, and in this portion of Scripture, there is given a somewhat extreme example.

However, extreme examples can be very helpful for believers. Imagine if the story of the prodigal was simply that the father told the son not to play with his brother’s basketball without asking. The next day, the son was found with his brother’s basketball, but he fell to his knees and asked for forgiveness. The father forgave him and embraced him and slaughtered the best fattened calf to celebrate with a feast.

That story would be a little weird, and unfortunately a lot of people would not be able to identify with it. The tendency would be to look inward and find that what you have done is much worse than not asking to borrow your brother’s basketball.

God’s heart for the sinner

However, God takes us deep within the heart of mankind and paints a real picture rather than a Picasso. He knows that man has done some horrible things and that man needs to see the love of God applied to those horrible things. In the story of the prodigal, the son does in fact depart, but the work of God is seen as the son is being drawn back.

The prodigal goes out and spends all of his money, and in verse 14 God’s discipline comes down swiftly in love to bring the son back. Luke tells his readers that a famine broke out in the land. However, rather than turning back to the father, the son continues to run away and finds himself longing to eat with pigs. Still God’s loving discipline was there as the son was hoping to be fed by the men he was working for, but the Bible says they gave him nothing.

All of these events led to a time of revelation in the mind and the heart of the son. These times of affliction were times in which God was working in his life. It can be helpful at times to see stories from the beginning to the end. God’s discipline is an indication of His love (Prov. 3:12), His delight in you (Prov. 3:12), His recognition of you as a true son (Heb. 12:8), and His desire for holiness in your life (Heb. 12:11).

God was working behind the scenes, not to inflict pain as some type of end in itself. Rather, God was working to restore. This is the God of the Bible. He never ceases or slumbers in His mission to restore His children to Himself. If you are currently straying from God, know this: God is working to draw you back to Himself. He will let you wander, but He will never let you perish.

Finally, the son sets out on his journey back to the father. The story depicts the father as though he was looking for his son’s return the whole time. The father was overjoyed as he saw the son approaching from a great distance away. He pulled up his garments and sprinted toward his son to embrace him. The father celebrated the return of the son and delighted in forgiving his son. This is also true for you. God delights in the forgiveness of sin and the return of His children, and there is no greater place to see this than the cross.

Final prayer

Father, I thank You that You are a forgiving God and that You never stop working in my life to draw me to Yourself. Please forgive me for when I stray. Bind my wandering heart to Thee. May You be glorified in my life each and every day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Published by Fellowship of Praise: ALL praise to God our Reason, Hallelujah!!!

To God be The glory. Let us praise God together for His ALL in our lives, Amen.

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