The Goodness of the Father

I remember a point in my life I passed by a mirror and was pretty shocked at what I saw.  Greasy tangled hair squished on top of my head. Unwashed face highlighting the bags under my eyes.  A pullover with a stain, leggings with holes. Sadder than my outward appearance was the expression on my face. My bubbly personality had been traded out for deep hopelessness. It was showing in my tired eyes and the heaviness on my shoulders.
 
I’ve been blessed to grow up knowing God. Church and ministry have been as common in my life as school and work. I didn’t think I would ever relate to the prodigal son. But recently, God has been teaching me about His faithfulness and righteousness that far surpass my own. Though my commitment to God has persevered, I have experienced failure. Though I know He is always near, I have created distance between us. In the season of life I was describing, it took all my strength to get out of bed in the mornings. I felt like I was falling apart, like I was lost.

I clung to promises that I couldn’t go anywhere from the Spirit (Psalm 139) and that He is near to the broken-hearted (Psalm 24). I gave my best attempts not to fear in the valley because He said He was with me (Psalm 23) and would never forsake me (Psalm 27). Even believing all the Scripture, I felt lonely. It took months from that point of choosing to put my faith in Him and my hope in His promises before I felt change.
 
There came a day it was easier to get out of bed. I enjoyed the clothes in my closet and had fun playing with my make up. It felt good to wash my face before bed and brush through my hair every morning as I felt thankfulness for life come back it. That’s when I was reminded of a verse in the parable of the prodigal son: “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.’” I had a sweet moment with God seeing how He had traded my rags for His best robe. He exchanged beauty for ashes. He cared for me and restored me fully.

I’m not a parent so I can’t really say what that’s like. But from what I’ve heard, healthy parents really love their kids well. It doesn’t matter how long they’ve been gone, the parent just wants the children home. It doesn’t matter what kind of mess they get into, the parent wants to see them restored. The story of the prodigal son goes way beyond my experience but I have all the same gotten to know the goodness of the Father through this story and the ways He loves me. I hope no matter where you’ve been in your history with God, that you get to feel Him exchange your cloak of heaviness for a garment of praise. He’s a good Dad. It’s what He has for you, too.

Author | Savannah Ugan

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