“But when he came to his senses…” Luke 15:17a (NASU)
You wake up in the morning feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the day. The weather is perfect, the birds are singing and the coffee is a delight to your senses. As you prepare for the day, you mentally rehearse each event that has a place in your schedule. You leave the house early and the traffic is a breeze. Everything goes your way at work/school and there is a smile on your face as you return home. You don’t burn dinner and get to watch your favorite television show without one interruption. Man, oh man, life is good!
Against all odds, your week progresses in the same way. The only annoyances you face are minor and not even worth mentioning. You make all your appointments, complete all your chores and even squeeze in a few extra phone calls for good measure.
Then the phone rings with your test results. The check bounces to your mortgage company. The kids get sick at the same time. You hear rumors of layoffs at work. The car transmission dies two days after your warranty expires. The shower leaks and floods three rooms. Someone doesn’t like the way you looked at them. Your best friend moves to France and family trouble erupts like a volcano. Wham! Just like that – all of the sudden – the party is over.
With all the trouble heaping on your head like burning coals – what do you do? Where do you go when the party is over?
Our Sunday morning Bible study class has been reviewing the Luke 15 parable of the Prodigal Son. Our literature is based on John MacArthur’s book by the same name. I highly recommend it.
To recap this poignant prodigal story, we begin at the beginning: a man had two sons. One was young, rebellious and anxious to be free from the authority of his father. The other was older and appeared to be obedient and respectful – working hard and acting responsibly.
It’s widely known that the younger son demanded his share of the family estate and then left town for those proverbial greener pastures. That is, greener until the money ran out and the friends left. It was only when he was reduced to feeding pigs that he saw himself as the fool he was. It was not a pretty picture. The party was over.
Hungry and humiliated, this young son groaned, what do I do now? Where do I go? The answer appeared but only after, according to Scripture, he came to his senses. So where did our runaway decide to go when the party was over?
Sometimes life breezes along like a dream. Yet eventually a storm comes our way and the party is over. Other times, we make our own fiesta based on what we want, what feels good to us and without a second thought to anyone else. However, at some point, the money disappears, the friends evaporate, and once again, the party is over.
When this happens in your life – where do you go when the party is over? Might I suggest you go home? The young son did. He went home to his father. He went home to face the music. When the son “came to his senses,” he realized that maybe dad wasn’t so wrong, wasn’t out to get him and really did love him. Surely, a man this good would have pity on his own flesh and blood. And if he didn’t – well he couldn’t be any worse off than he was in the pig sty. Repentance compelled him to find out - was there forgiveness and life back at home?
Well, when our broken-hearted un-hero hit the front yard, he wasn’t prepared for the reception he received! Dad about knocked him over running out to meet him. For miles on a long dusty road, the son rehearsed a speech that he only got halfway through before Dad had to burst out in celebration. Bring the robe! Bring the ring and the sandals! Put on the feast! It’s party time! The son received more than he ever dared to hope.
I find it fascinating and life altering that when things in my life cease to be perfect, when speed bumps pop up, when sink holes open in the middle of my path – when the party is over, I can always go home. And when I do come home, my Father is there, ready to scoop me up and provide comfort. I find one party ends only to discover a better one waiting right around the corner.
And believe me; my Father knows how to throw a party! Where are you in your party life right now? What kind of party is it? Is it one of smooth sailing that occasionally occurs in life or a self-made soiree that will end as abruptly as it started leaving you in the cold - wanting. In either case, how long will you take to regain your senses and then where will you go?
Is that music and dancing I hear?