Read Luke 15:17-24

I am great at practicing conversations before ever actually saying a word.  I go over and over what I way to say and how I am going to say it.  I try to imagine how the other person will respond and then how I will respond to their response.  Sometimes I have entire arguments with the people that never actually happen.  I don’t think I’m crazy.  It’s just easier to control a conversation when I am the only one involved.

As the prodigal son travels home, he begins to practice the speech he will give to his father.  He knows he has messed up and he is planning out how he is going to get himself out of it.  He has already decided how his father is going to feel and so he is trying to set the terms of his return.  Sure his dad will be angry with him, but if he says the right thing maybe he will be able to return home as a servant.

The problem is that the prodigal son can’t control how is father will react.  He makes an assumption based on a specific narrative he is telling himself.  He believes he has sinned against his father and therefore no longer deserves to be called a son.  While this may be true, it is not the same as his father’s narrative.  The father has already forgiven the son and is ready to accept him back.  He doesn’t want his son to be a servant in his home.  He wants his son to be a son in his home.  While the prodigal son is preoccupied by his actions and how he is unworthy of being accepted, the father only wants his child to come home.

What a different outcome it would have been if the son had gotten his way!  Many times we do the same thing.  We are quick to settle for less than the grace and love God offers.  We think we have to do something to get right with God, and yet it isn’t the case.  God accepts us completely.

Throughout the bible this same pattern repeats itself.  God’s people believe a story that is different than the one God is telling.  We think we are unlovable, unacceptable, and unforgivable.  We believe these lies, and we let them keep us from returning to our Father.  Yet the death and resurrection of Jesus completely changes things.  Because of Jesus we are loved, we are accepted, and we are forgiven.

Day 4 of 7 from the 2017 Mission Discovery Devotional