images (2)When was the last time you pictured a “Running Redeemer”? Well, the Scriptures paint just such a picture, and I pray that it will be a word of great comfort for you today. In the parable of the prodigal son, the younger son demanded that his father give him his inheritance, and then went off into the far country and squandered it all. Shamed, hungry, and all alone, when this lost son came to his senses and realized his great wickedness, he longed to return home. He felt sure he had forever destroyed his relationship with his father, but hoped that he might be received as a hired hand.

So he got up and went to his father. 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. (Luke 15:20)

We are to see the father in this story as representing God. To those who heard Jesus relate this parable, it would have been remarkable to hear that the father, filled with compassion for the returning son, ran to meet him. At that time and in that culture, the normal response from a father who had been so utterly disrespected by his son was not to run and greet him with kisses upon his return. The neighbors would have been much less surprised to see the father spit in his wayward son’s face, rather than to see him gird up his outer garments and run toward his wayward son. The father’s actions would have been considered undignified and embarrassing. But not for Father God!

Again I ask, when was the last time you pictured a running Redeemer? James urges us, “Come near to God and he will come near to you” (James 4:8). The prodigal’s parable is a wonderful reminder of just how our heavenly father responds to His wicked and wayward children: He is a running Redeemer drawing near to you with amazing love!

Is that not a source of great comfort to you as you go through the struggles and storms of this life? From time to time, we all wander into the far country. The world presents us with so many idols of the heart that seek to ensnare our affections! But when we come to our senses and head back home, our Redeemer does not wait on the porch with a stern, disapproving frown, prepared to lecture us or punish us for our foolish decisions. No, He runs to meet us and wraps his loving arms around us and showers us with grace.

Now, if that does not light the fire of your faith . . . your wood is wet! Perhaps this day you are in a season of great success and faithfulness to God. Continue drawing near to Him and He will continue drawing near to you. But maybe this finds you “eating pods with the pigs” in a season of struggle and raging storms; no matter how badly you have fallen or failed, return to your Father and be prepared to be met by a running Redeemer who will restore you to your rightful place—as a child of the Most High God.

Remember this: a child of God is always a child of God, even when he is not acting like one. And this is the confession of all our lives from time to time. There are those times when you and I have blown it badly! But we need not fear our Redeemer’s response. As we return to Him, He runs toward us. Rest in that comfort today!

This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!

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