Baby Ben Taught me about the Prodigal Father
Baby Ben has been extra snuggly this morning. I love that boy so much. I wake up long before everyone else in my house during the week (around 5:15am), and most mornings I have just a few extra minutes to go and wake him up for a few cuddles. I love him so much it hurts. If I could take him to work with me every single day, I would. He's my pride and joy. I can come home from an extremely stressful day, but when he recognizes me and smiles up at me with those big blue eyes and chunky cheeks, nothing else matters.
I'd give my life for him. I'd saw off an arm with a butter knife. I'd walk over hot coals. I'd sell my house. I'd sell my soul.
Because he's my son. My legacy. My future. In his eyes, I see hope. I see innocence. I see myself, and I see God. I see love.
He's my son. And nothing he can do will every take away his sonship. He will always be my son. I will always be his father. He could become a murderer. A pastor. A thief. The President of the United States. A drug addict. A football star. A homosexual. No matter what, he's my son.
When I hold him, I smile. Sometimes I cry. When he makes a new sound in the middle of the night, I sit straight up in bed, until I hear him snoring or breathing normally again. If he cries too hard or screams too loudly, it hurts me. He's my son. My heart.
When I hold him in public, my lungs swell with pride. When someone asks to see a picture of him on my iPhone, I show them thirty instead.
Just thinking of him growing up and leaving home in rebellion or anger, makes my eyes fill up with tears. I cannot imagine. But he has every right to walk away. To leave. To disown his family. Being my son doesn't make him my slave or my puppet. It just makes him mine.
Okay, enough! Tears, tears, tears! Dangit, Ben Thomas! You're only eighteen weeks old and already making me snot!
"Prodigal". Do you know what it means? I have heard it a million times. The word and the story. I always assumed it meant "wayward" or "backslidden". Something like that. WRONG. Actually, the word "prodigal" is an adjective which means "wastefully or recklessly extravagant".
So "prodigal" not only describes the son's extravagant waste, his reckless life, blowing through his inheritance in a few years, and living with the hogs, but it also describes the Father's love!
The Father's love is recklessly extravagant. Some people would call His grace wasteful. His mercy is lavishly abundant. Overflowing. Never-ending. His love is copious. His "second chances" never end. Ever.
"How great is the Father's love for us!"
And notice what the father did: he saw the son coming from a long way off. Before the son could clean himself up. Before the son could dust himself off. The father saw the son coming toward home, and as the son limped, the father sprinted.
"If you draw near to Me, I will draw near to you."
Prodigal son meets prodigal Father.