Over the years I have had the privilege of pondering, writing about, and teaching on the pillar truths of the Christian Faith—such as creation, rebellion, redemption, consummation—which pillars are also known as the main movements in the Story of God.
What I want to do in this post is reflect for a moment on how we might respond to these truths, should we desire to do so.
Many years ago, while working on my masters thesis, I found myself way too busy with a young family, full-time job, and seminary classes. My busyness took its toll.
Late one night—after the kids were in bed and clean up was done—I eagerly prepared to dive into my studies till the wee hours of the morning. The final piece in setting up for the night was fetching a freshly brewed cup of Joe with two cream. I headed back to my armchair and sat down to a greatly anticipated sip. To my shock the coffee was terrible! I looked and my coffee was reddish and the cream curdled. I walked back to the kitchen, wondering what went wrong. As I stared at the counter where the coffee machine was I realized there were two identical jugs beside it. One was pure, filtered water, and the other was the cranberry juice someone forgot to put back in the fridge. I had used the cranberry juice in the coffee machine without realizing it! Let me save you the trouble, only water works.
God’s grand Gospel Story is like the water. No other narrative will make sense of our lives in this universe, promise to resolve all our issues, and grant us complete fulfillment. Most importantly, it is the Story that makes true sense of Jesus Christ and his call to exclusively follow after him (Luke 9:23-25, Acts 4:12).
How might we respond to Jesus? We could do so according to his classic parable, the prodigal son, in Luke 15:11-24. There we read of a young son who prematurely demanded his inheritance, which was like saying ‘father, I wish you were dead.’ Surprisingly, the father granted his son’s request. And, with no thought of looking back, the son packed up and left for another country where he could live as he pleased.
Finally, having fallen into abject poverty, the young man came to his senses, repented from his heart, and returned to his father in the hope that his father would make him like one of his hired servants who had plenty.
Little did the prodigal know that his father had long been looking over the horizon for his son to return home. As he neared his father’s home his father saw him and, to the prodigal’s surprise, the father ran to him. Before he could finish his confession, his father embraced him and kissed him, reclothed him as a member of the family, and threw a massive celebration!
Your Heavenly Father is waiting for you (Luke 15:20, 2 Peter 3:9). So if you’re ready for a better Story, then it’s time to get up and run home! Simply pray and ask Jesus to save you (Romans 10:9-13).