Ever since I came back to the Lord in 1993, I recognize myself in the Prodigal Son (story found in Luke 15). I have often thought what if I had never returned. What if I had stayed on the outside of the Kingdom without returning to my Father’s house? There are no what ifs now. I have been fully embraced by my Father. I might have turned around, but God came running toward me. He initiated the hug (the Love) I received. I didn’t have to do anything, but receive His grace and mercy. He could have given me everything I deserved. I could have stayed in the servant’s quarters. I could have been forced to hard labor for my morsels of food. But God said, “No, you are my child!” God gave me His mercy and offered me His best. He clothed me in righteousness, even though I didn’t feel righteous. He offered me a ring to put on my finger; the ring of intention – the one where I will be His bride at the huge wedding feast. I am His beloved. What amazing grace!
When I was reading this story one morning, I felt such gratitude. I felt gratitude for the story representing God’s love for us even when we are in the dark places away from Him. I felt His love while as the Father waits with anticipation of the son’s return. He watched and waited for the first glimpse of his son. I also pictured Jesus returning to heaven after His death and resurrection. Do you think there was a celebration in the throne room that wonderful day? Do you see the angels celebrating around the throne that Jesus returned to them in His full glory? I can see it. I can see a great party when all those who call on Jesus as Savior return for the greatest celebration that will ever occur. But why wait until then to celebrate? Why aren’t we more joyful today? We have been given so much grace and mercy. We have been given joy through His unfailing love! Why aren’t we sharing the Good News that others who are far away can experience this too?
I don’t know about you, but I was never good enough to go to heaven on my own accord. I just don’t have that much goodness in me. I was given a book a couple of weeks ago about “How good is good enough?” by Andy Stanley. I read it and was so encouraged by the fact I don’t have to wonder if I made the quota of good deeds. Jesus did it all for me. I can rest in the assurance of His saving power that everything I ever did paled in comparison to what He did for me. The only goodness that is in me today is the goodness that Jesus gave to me through His death and resurrection. There is a mighty celebration going on today, and it’s in my heart filled with everlasting joy! Praise God for all the blessings that flow from His love, grace and mercy!
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1 John 4:9-10