“He will not constantly accuse us nor remain angry forever. He does not punish us for all our sins. He does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve. For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.” Psalm 103:9-12 NLT
If you sift through your story, can you find moments where you were the prodigal son or daughter?
One of my favorite parables is the story of the prodigal son. It is a story that is filled with hope. It gives me something to cling to that says I am loved despite my imperfections.
This morning as I was reading the daily readings, the Psalm popped out. In my family growing up, I was the one who strived for achievement and success. I didn’t like to be punished, so for the most part I made the right choices that kept me out of trouble. I worked hard to be successful and became a pleaser, not wanting to disappoint others. That has played a huge part in how I saw God and how a played the role in my adult life. I had a view of God as a tyrant. He was a Father who saw my failures and was disappointed in me. Psalm 103:9-12 bears a message that is on the other spectrum on how I perceived God.
He sees and knows everyone of my sins and He still loves me “as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.” He does not issue me a punish, He asks that I return to Him with a contrite heart. A heart that is sorry for what I have done to separate myself from Him. Just as in the parable of the prodigal son, he waits day and night for me to return so that He can welcome me with His arms wide open, ready to embrace me, and pour His love directly into the laceration in my heart.
Years ago, I experienced a conversion in my life that placed me on the path I walk today. I hadn’t been to confession in 11 years. I examined my conscience and wrote out at least a page sins I committed. I was a hot mess during confession and I remember my priest telling me afterwards to take the page and burn it because I no longer needed it. That confession was my return, my role as the prodigal daughter in my story.
We are about to embark on week three of our Lenten journey. Today, our invitation may be to ask ourselves where am I separating myself from God? Taking my inheritance of eternal life and squandering it? Is it time for me to return to my Father and receive His loving embrace and feast in His joy?
Lord, today I ask you to search my heart and reveal the areas in my life that are separating me from You and Your inheritance. I don’t deserve Your love for all that I have done, but You will never turn away from me and deny me of Your love. Your love is unfailing and You wait for me day and night to return to You so that You can embrace me and kiss me. Guide my path back to You. Amen