But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
Many of us are familiar with the story of the prodigal son. He goes to his father and basically says, "I wish you were dead," and demands his inheritance. The father does not withhold. He gives his son what he asked for and the son runs off, spending his money on "wild living." Eventually, the son hits rock bottom and finds himself feeding pigs. When he realizes how good he had it and all that he has lost, he decides to return to his father and beg for forgiveness that he may work his father's land as a servant. His father had been awaiting his return. He ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. Before the son could even finish his apology, the father had begun planning a celebration for his return.
Prodigal is defined as wastefully or recklessly extravagant. The son took all of his inheritance and wasted it, not thinking of what he was doing or the possible aftermath of his actions. He could certainly be defined as very prodigal. But what about the father? Isn't it foolish to throw such an elaborate feast for a son who left and wasted half of your wealth on filth after telling you he'd be better off with you dead? If anything, I'd expect the father to be furious. However, this father was filled with compassion for his son. He was excited for and awaiting his son's return home. There's no hint of anger. He doesn't even seem interested in his son's past or his explanation. The father is just happy to have his child back with him.
That is our Dad! No matter where you've been or what you've done, God's stance toward you will never change. He loves you! The minute you turn to Him, He's going to be beaming with joy as He sprints toward you. He does not care about your past, He's just excited to see you're returning home.
I can't tell you how long it has taken me to accept this. For so long, I had thought that God was angry with me, upset and disappointed over the decisions I had made. I did not see Him as my loving Father. I saw Him as a frustrated score-keeper, just waiting to punish me for all the sin that polluted my life. I ran. I wasted my life on useless garbage. When I had no more life left to spend, I turned around, only to find that God was not mad at me at all. He had been waiting, watching for my return. Now, He is preparing a celebration for me for when I finally do get to go home.