A man had two sons.  They both worked in the family business.  The older son being conscientious accepted his share of responsibility, but the younger one got bored with his hometown; and wanderlust lured him to seek greener pastures.  His father agreed to release him, divided his estate between his sons and gave him his share which was liquidated and applied to travel expenses as he went in search of a new adventure.

It was an exciting life—at first, until his money ran out and his friends ran off.  He couldn’t find employment as he had no work references since he left his father’s place.  Hunger finally won out, and he accepted the menial task of “slopping hogs,” a degrading and religiously unlawful job for a Jewish man. 

None of his friends came to his rescue; he was in the pits, alone.  He looked at the hogs’ trough, his stomach growled at its empty condition, he considered eating with the hogs; when it hit him—“The servants at my father’s house have wonderful food, and I am about to perish because of lack of it.  I wonder how the hogs’ food would taste to a starving man?”


His epiphany led him humbly back to his father’s house in repentance, expecting to be nothing more than a hired servant.  Much to his surprise, his father met him with open arms and immediately clothed him, put shoes on his feet, put the family crest ring on his finger and led him to the banquet hall where a feast was spread in his honor.


You recognize the story, don’t you?  It’s the prodigal son of Luke 15. 

“And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of MY FATHER’S [emphasis mine] have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!” I will arise and go to MY FATHER [emphasis mine], and will say unto him, ‘FATHER [emphasis mine], I have sinned against heaven, and before thee’ ” (Luke 15:17, 18).


By “common sense” standards, the young man should have been vilified for having wasting his inheritance and cast out to fend for himself.  He had it coming!  But the father’s love for his son resulted in great rejoicing that the wayward one had returned home.  He considered his son as one who had been resurrected from the dead, and put his household on alert to prepare a banquet to celebrate and honor him.


The heart of the story is found in verses 17 and 18:  “I will arise and go to MY FATHER…”  In spite of the debauchery the son had fallen into, when he thought of home, he knew his dad was still “my father.”  The father was reciprocal, because he still referred to the rag-tag man coming down the road toward home as “my son.”


Of course we know that this parable was representative of the unconditional love of God toward fallen mankind. 


“He’s still my Father,” even when I veer from His presence, when life falls at my feet in shambles because I didn’t fully trust Him, when I listen to wrong voices and follow bad advice and no matter how far from home I am.


Peter, big and bold, declared that he would never deny His Lord even if everyone else did.  He thought he knew himself when he declared his undying loyalty, but Jesus knew the time would come when Peter would utterly fail.  The love in the eyes of Jesus when He looked deeply into the eyes and heart of Peter, caused him to know that the God Jesus had taught them about was still “my Father!”


When David was anointed King of Israel, he didn’t suspect the time would come when he would bring shame upon his name and his kingdom and death to his son.  When he ordered the death of Uriah in order to claim his wife, David thought he could hide the sin under cover and no one would know.  When he “came to himself” like the prodigal son, he saw how far he had wandered from God; but his broken heart and contrite spirit cried, “He’s still my Father!”

David prayed after Nathan confronted him with his sin:  Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean:  wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow” (Psalm 51:7) That’s the prayer of a man who knew, “He’s still my Father.”


Abraham went along with Sarah’s plan to execute their own plan when it appeared that God’s had failed.  The promised son had not been born, and they were getting on in years.  Sarah’s maid, Hagar, bore Abraham a son whom he named Ishmael; and he was sure that their plan would install this son as the legal heir that God had promised.  When the Lord later visited Sarah and opened her womb to conceive Isaac they realized they had acted outside God’s will.  God could have decided they had foiled His plan and He would just find someone else to create the nation of Israel.  No, Abraham would look at Isaac and remember the faithfulness of God and say, “He’s still my Father!”


“He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities” (Psalm 103:10) 

Of course there are consequences when we go our own way and fail to heed the wooing of the Holy Spirit, and they may bring us pain.  All our actions have consequences, some good and some bad.  We need to discern that there are natural consequences as a result of our decisions and actions, even though the long-suffering, unconditional love of God is in effect.  We sometimes blame God (or even the devil) for consequences that we created.  The natural consequences do not cancel God’s love; and in the midst of suffering them, we can say, “He’s still my father!”


No, He doesn’t deal with us according to our “due,” after our sin nor reward us according to our iniquities (Psalm 103:10).  If He did, we would be disowned, not legitimate children of God (Hebrews 12:8). 


“As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.  Like as a father piteth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him” (Psalm 103:11-12)


“He’s still my Father!”


If our failures mean rejection by our Father, God is going to have a very small family!  The prodigal son knew he had a father; he just didn’t know the scope of his powerful love when he decided to go back home.  He only discovered it when he got there.


Certainly, the Holy Spirit is grieved when we fail; but where sin abounds, that’s where God’s grace increases (Romans 5:20).  God, like the father in Jesus' story, is waiting for us to "come home."  When we deal with others who have fallen, we need to be more loving and less critical when they need rescuing.  They need a lifeline, not a billy-club.  They need a brother/sister who recognizes them even in the fog or the muddy pig pen who will call to them and say, “He’s still your Father!”


I am not theologically smart enough to know when/if God is ready to cut the safety line of one who is climbing a treacherous mountain, slipping and sliding, about to disappear over the edge.  But I do believe it is much, much harder for God to lose us than some folks think it is. 

When the world looks down on you and there is no one to help, remember you can look up and say,

“He’s still my Father!”

When you look up the road, you will see your Father running to meet you and hear Him say,

“Welcome home, my child; I love you.”

If you have wandered away from home, just remember:  A loving Father is waiting for your return!


“That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith: that ye being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:17-19).


Have you thought about this?  God gave us to Jesus!

“I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, ….My Father, which gave them me, [emphasis mine] is greater than all…” (John 10:28-29).

God would never give Jesus “junk”! 

God fills the lowest times in our lives with His “living water.”  Water’s characteristic seeks the lowest level.  At our lowest point, healing waters will flow into our deepest need.


Never try to make your experience a principal for others, but allow God to be as creative or original with others as He is with you.

……..Oswald Chambers

God deals with each of us uniquely.  Though you are different from me, we both can say,

“He’s still my Father -- and yours!”











Music:  Lord, I'm Coming Home

William J. Kirkpatrick


Kirkpatrick wrote this song at a camp meeting in Rawlinsville, Pennsylvania, with a very specific purpose: to win the soul of his soloist, a nonbeliever. After Kirkpatrick prayed for the young man, these words came to him. He wrote them down quickly, and after the soloist sang them that night, he became a Christian.

@ There's Good News September 2010


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