Evangelist D. L. Moody said his brother left home at age 15 in order to seek his fortune. Moody remembered his mother waiting for her son’s return, even setting a chair for him at Thanksgiving dinner. “I used to think she loved him more than all the rest of us put together,” Moody said. Many years later, a stranger came to their house, and when his mother answered the door, there stood her son—now a grown man. Moody’s mother threw her arms around him, and welcomed him home.
In Luke 15, Jesus tells three parables about a lost sheep, a lost coin, and a lost son. In each, an individual has lost something of value. When the item was found, joy replaced the feelings of distress. The Parable of the Prodigal Son tells of a father with two sons. The younger son rebels, leaves home, and squanders his inheritance. He acts with reckless abandon until he is starving and considers eating from a pig’s trough (v. 16). Only then does he return to his father.
Some children would expect to return home to harsh words or a closed door, but this son found a parent waiting with expectant joy. Note the sincerity and humility of the son’s confession (vv. 18–19). He acknowledges his disobedience and unworthiness. He doesn’t ask to be restored to his former relationship but merely to be considered a servant.
But his father is overjoyed (v. 20). There is celebration, music, and dancing (v. 25). As D. L. Moody described the lesson of this parable, “Ah, sinner, if you but ask God to be merciful to you a sinner, ask Him for forgiveness, although your life has been bad—ask Him for mercy, and He will not keep you long waiting for an answer.”
You can come to God with what is weighing on your heart and mind. Jesus assures us that our heavenly Father is eager and waiting for sinners to turn to Him in repentance. We can count on being welcomed with open arms. And we can know that our decision to seek forgiveness causes tremendous celebrating in heaven.