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No matter how far we have wandered!
(J.R. Miller, "Daily Bible Readings in the Life of Christ" 1890)
"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
The boy had, in the far-away country, a vision of his old home. As he sat there and thought of his dishonor and his ruin — a picture flashed before him, which made him very home-sick. The vision brought back the old home in all its beauty and blessedness. There was plenty there — while here in the far country, the once happy favored son, was perishing with hunger!
It was a blessed moment for the debauched prodigal. It was God's message to him, inviting him to return home.
When a child is stolen away from a lovely and tender household, it may be kept among wandering gypsies or savage Indians even to old age — but there are always broken fragments of sweet memories which hang over the soul like trailing clouds in the sky — dim, shadowy memories of something very lovely, very pure — reminiscences of that long-lost, long-forgotten past, when the child lay on the mother's arms, and was surrounded by beauty and tenderness.
Just so, there is something in the heart of every one who has wandered from God — which ever floats about him, even in sin's revels — a fair, dreamy vision, dim and far away perhaps — but as splendid as the drapery of the sunset. It is the memory of lost innocence, of the Father's love, the vision of a heavenly beauty — which is possible of restoration to the worst and most debauched.
When the prodigal reached home — he found his vision realized. His father was watching for him — had long been watching for him. It is a picture of the heavenly Father's loving welcome of every lost child of His, who comes back home. Thus He receives the worst — who penitently return. Our sweetest dreams of God's love, are a thousand times too poor and dim — when compared to the reality. A great way off God sees the returning prodigal — and runs to meet him. No matter how far we have wandered, there is a welcome waiting for us at home!