Lost things – and lost people – don’t always know they’re lost. But the one who has lost them knows. Sheep don’t know they’re lost, but the shepherd does. A lost coin doesn’t know it’s lost, but its owner does. The prodigal son didn’t think he was lost. He thought he was living it up and enjoying the adventure of a lifetime, but if you had asked his father, he would have said, “My son is lost.”
Where was the father when his son was lost? Some would argue that he never left home, never went after his boy. But I believe the father was “in the far country,” too. Not a day or night went by that the father was not with his younger son in his mind. Loved ones who are left behind know their own special kind of “lost-ness.” The wife of a soldier who fights in a foreign country goes to that country in her thoughts a thousand times a day. The loved one of a hostage is held hostage, too, by their worry and concern. The parent of a sick child fights disease just a surely as their boy or girl does, and feels every pain.
Day after day, hour after hour, the father of the prodigal was in the far country, too. He was suffering the anguish and emptiness that a life of excess brought to his son. There’s not a parent alive who has not experienced the hurt of their child if there is real love. That’s a human picture of the supernatural love of God. He goes where we go. He feels every loss, every disappointment, and every pain. He is that father of the prodigal son – longing for his boy to come home. All of us, at one time, have been that prodigal. Many still are. Our Heavenly Father also keeps loving us when we are lost – waiting and longing for us to come home, where He welcomes us with outstretched arms. Is it time for you to come home?