"The Heart That Does Not Wander"
The man often referred to as "the prodigal son" did not know a vitally important truth that would have prevented the disastrous outcome that led him to poverty and near despair. Indeed, his wandering heart failed know that his father's heart did not wander.
"A certain man had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants" (Luke 15:11-19).
The man did not realize the measure and degree of his father's goodness. If he had, he would never have left his father, regardless of the temptation of "riotous living." A solid conviction regarding his father would have affected the man's attitude and behavior in the realization of the foolishness of fleeing from the plenty of his parent's presence and provision. Moreover, the son's response when inevitable disaster occurred confirms his ignorance regarding the father's character. He seems to have had no idea regarding the loving welcome that would greet him as a returning son rather than a retained servant. "I'll go back to be hired" said the broken man to himself. He returned, however, to be family yet again. His merciful and wonderful father raced to meet him, along with the bounty of the best robe, a ring, shoes, and joyous celebration. Most of all, "My son was dead and is alive again! He was lost and is found!" (Luke 15:24).
"My son." I often wonder what the sound of those words meant in the heart of the young man when they reached his ears, and even more, his heart. I suspect that for perhaps the first time in his life, the realization of his father's goodness must have filled and thrilled his soul. Of course, he could and should have known sooner. Inexcusable ignorance characterized the first portion of his life. We can suspect, however, that enthralled wonder accompanied the man for the rest of his days, wonder regarding the character and nature of his amazing father. "My son…."
"O how great is Thy goodness which Thou hast laid up for them that fear Thee, which Thou hast wrought for them that trust in Thee before the sons of men!" (Psalm 31:19).
Forever will not be long enough to plumb the depths, ascend to the heights, or span the measure of our Lord's infinite goodness. Eternity will beckon us to dive deeper, climb higher, and venture ever further in the eternal quest to discover the winsome wonder of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Triune goodness indeed beckons us to glories beyond imagining, including the invitation in this day to realize and remember the God who so desires to be our Father in a manner that fills both His heart and our own. The growing realization of His character and nature, as revealed by the Word of God, the Spirit of God, the church of God, and the creation of God, will keep us at home, so to speak. And if we do wander, the awareness of our Christ-secured permanency of being "dear children" will make our return far more likely and timely (Ephesians 5:1). "My son…" The words surely echoed for a lifetime in the heart of a young man who strayed, only to discover thereby the heart that did not wander, the heart of his wondrous father. Eternity awaits for even greater echoes in our hearts, the strains of wonder regarding the Heart that does not wander.
"The goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance."
Weekly Memory Verse
"In Him we live and move and have our being."