And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. Luke 15:20Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Ps. 51:12
Dear heavenly Father, thankfully, I’m not beginning this day in a far away country, derelict and destitute—a re-enactment of the younger son’s plight (Luke 15). Though I’m capable of anything, I’m not filled with shame for squandering an inheritance, and neither am I out in a field feeding somebody else’s pigs. I’m in a comfortable chair, sipping a fresh cup of coffee, surrounded by more than my share of creature comforts. And yet I’m just as much in need of fellowship with you as any of your beloved children.
Because the gospel is true, I bring you my busy, not-very-well-focused, somewhat meandering heart. I feel like a third son right now. I’m not struggling with the extremes of either of the sons in Luke 15. I’m not acting out in destructive “fleshy” ways, and I’m not presently throwing myself a self-righteous pity party. I’m just somewhere in between. I still hear and love the wonderful music of the gospel, but I just don’t feel like dancing right now.
So, Father, as I come to you today, I take great comfort in knowing that I’ll always find you filled with compassion for me, even when my feelings are not fully engaged with you. As I saunter toward you, you’re always running toward me in Jesus. As I’m glad to see you, you see me from afar and are thrilled at the sighting. I believe this, help my unbelief.
When I’m not as inclined to lift my arms in praise to you, your embrace is the most predictable element in my day. You don’t just put your hand on my shoulder; you throw your arms around me in the gospel. And though my love for you wavers, you will shower me with multiple kisses all day long, for you love your children with an everlasting, unwavering love.
Because the gospel is true, I’ll seek to live to your glory today, neither by sight nor by my feelings, but by the faith you’ve given me to trust and love you. It’s not my grasp of you but your grasp of me in the gospel that matters the most. It’s not the enjoyment of my peace with you, but the assurance that you’re at peace with me that’s the anchor for my soul. So very Amen I pray, in Jesus’ wonderful and merciful name.