And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.
What was it that made such a difference for the prodigal son but a realization that he was in need and his father had exactly what he needed. He may have wasted everything that he had, but his father had an abundant supply. He was hungry, but even the servants in his father’s house had plenty to eat. He may have been relegated to the pigpen, but his father had a place reserved for him. No one else would give him anything at all, but his father was willing to give him the most valuable things he had.
It is that realization of his neediness and his father’s abundance that sets him on the course toward home, that allows him to abandon his pride and push through the shame and humble himself before his father. And it is that realization that allows him to see, in a way he may not have otherwise been able to, the depths of his father’s love, the great grace in his father’s heart, and how much he meant to his father. It is that realization that leads to forgiveness, restoration, and a much better future than he could have ever had trying to make his own way.
Do you see yourself at all in this wayward son? If so, your story can parallel his. Maybe you are separated from God, drawn away by some sin or some desire for something this world has to offer. Maybe you’ve never known God in a personal way for yourself. Maybe you are just drifting a bit due to the cares of this world or some trouble that has come. But all it takes is a humble realization that you are a needy child separated from a loving Father who longs to be reunited, to shower blessings upon you that only He can give, to offer you a new life far away from pigpen and in His very presence. All it takes is that realization and a willingness to take a step toward home, and God will meet you where you are with open arms.