There are very few characters in the Bible that get the full story – a beginning, a middle and an end. Take the rich young ruler, for example. The last you hear of him is that the walks away from Jesus, sad because his riches mean too much to him. You don’t find out how perhaps two or three years later, it really hits him just how poor he really is because he is not with Jesus. Perhaps he gets around to selling all that he has and ends up church building in Ephesus! You just don’t know the ending of the story because the bible account stopped mid-way!
I was thinking about the story of the Lost Son this morning. It is just a story. There was a real rich man that walked away, but the lost son was just a character in a story. Even so you don’t really get the next episode in his life either. What happened the day after the party? Or what happened two months later on? Living back on the farm – after a while did it slip back into habit and routine and the longing for freedom return? Did he and his brother become reconciled in the end or was there always tension?
Musing this morning, I believe that his experience of the misery and horror of the pigsty coupled with the unqualified forgiveness of his father coloured his thinking from that day forth! I think every day he woke up almost expecting the smell of the pigsty and when he opened his eyes to experience his father’s abundance, joy just flowered. Each and every day!
He had been so far away from home. He had been so unfulfilled. He had been so empty. He had been so lost. What he was then – it was like someone else’s life. Now he woke up in a house where his father lived. He is given tasks to do that affirm his worth as a son, but also as a human being. He is full – is physical appetites are being met, he knows that he is loved and wanted. I believe that he found his soul when he returned home.
Psalm 90 begins “Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Before the mountains were born, or You brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.” The lost son discovered that his dwelling place was with his father.
I want to wake up in the mornings, not forgetting that my existence before I knew God was pretty much a pigsty experience, and remembering now each day I open my eyes to experience his abundance. God is my dwelling place. God is my joy.