ODJ: the father’s love

October 3, 2015 

READ: 1 John 4:7-17 

We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them (v.16).

Wanda was a 20 year old who was living at home but had no real responsibilities. She had a job with a decent income and spent her free time hanging out with friends. All of that collapsed when she became pregnant.

Broken and scared, Wanda dreaded the thought of telling her parents. What would they think of her? Would they still love her? But when she could no longer hide the signs of the little life growing inside her, she tearfully broke the news to her mother and father.

Wanda’s dad immediately reached across the kitchen table, squeezed his daughter’s trembling hand and said, “Well, it’s been a while since we’ve heard the pitter-patter of little feet around here”. Wanda’s parents then warmly wrapped their arms around her and reassured her of their love and support.

The first time I heard Wanda’s story, I couldn’t help but think of how much it reflected the very thing Jesus said happens when broken and messy people return home to their heavenly Father. In Jesus’ story about the lost son (Luke 15:11-32), the son returned home broken and desperate after having totally disregarded his father and squandered his portion of the family estate in self-indulgence (vv.12-13). But before the son ever got a chance to utter a single word of apology, his father raced out to meet him and welcomed him home with hugs of compassion and love (v.20).

Jesus told this story for those of us who have messed up and made a wreck of our lives. He told the story to say that if we come home, our Father in heaven will love and accept us—no matter what.

Do you feel backed into a corner by something you’ve done? Go home and let your heavenly Father surprise you with His grace.

—Jeff Olson

365-day-plan: Matthew 28:16-20

Read 1 John 1:9 and consider what God promises to do when we come to Him in repentance. 
What does God’s grace mean to you? What prevents people from coming to God and confessing their sins?