Saturday, July 23, 2011

Yet Afar Off....

 I was babysitting evening, and one of the things we always enjoy doing is reading the books I bring. I usually bring three, and they are either taken from a series (I forget the name) that teaches character/moral lessons, or the Adam Raccoon parables. For what it matters, both are excellent series--I always use them with babysitting and I've come across very few children who don't enjoy them, which is great considering the quality of books they are.

One of the books I was reading this evening was called "Adam Raccoon and the Circus".  Adam runs away from King Aron to go see the circus and ends up joining it. He doesn't even mind when the circus master takes his piggy bank, because he turns into the biggest Star of the Circus. 

Unfortunately it doesn't take long for him to be replaced, and get a job washing dirty elephants during the day, sleeping in a cage with monkeys who tease him endlessly every night, and eating banana peels for every meal (left over from the monkeys). In the end he manages to escape. King Aron was watching for him and "when he saw him afar off" he ran to Adam and welcomed him back with wide-open arms. (should sound like a pretty familiar plot. Like I said--parables)

Anyway, the retelling of this old story really struck me--especially that one line. "When he saw him afar off". I suppose most of us sometimes get the feeling that we are pretty far off from God. Sometimes that is just a feeling, and we must be sure to "keep on keeping on" despite what emotions say. But then, sometimes it is true. We've left our first love, strayed into paths of sin, stubbornly choosen our own way, and hard-headedly refused to come back. It's true--the world can look awful sweet sometimes. The funny thing is, one day we can look at the world and wonder what attraction people could possibly find in its gaudy trappings. Then the very next day let ourselves be tempted and taken in by those very trappings.

But isn't it wonderful to know that no matter how far off the path we've gone, no matter how much we have willfully disobeyed, we have a Father who is watching for us with unceasing vigilance. As soon as we turn from the "rotten banana peels" and come to him, he will see us afar off and run to meet us with open arms. Our Father will always welcome His children home. God's forgiveness wasn't cheap, but it is freely given. 

"But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.\" (Luke 15:20b)

Reposted from the Archives