Now that I’m in my 40’s, I’ve come to realize I have miscalculated a lot throughout my life. I’ve miscalculated my parenting skills before I became one. I have miscalculated my daily need of having a strong faith walk with God. I have also miscalculated the depth of God’s love for me when I assumed I had disappointed Him one too many times. It’s because of my clear talent for miscalculations that I’ve always related to the story of the Prodigal Son found in Luke 15:11-32. The story focuses on the younger of 2 sons who miscalculates what life without his family would be like versus his life with them. Because he shared our ‘fear of missing out’ syndrome, he asked for his portion of his inheritance and left for a distant country. The younger son overestimated his ability to make wise choices with his inheritance and underestimated his father’s love for him. When life doesn’t go as planned, as it rarely does, the son makes one more miscalculation regarding his father’s response when he finally returns home penniless and ashamed.
Of all the stories in the Bible, I’ve always related to this one. Maybe it’s my own ‘prodigal’ child experiences or my being the youngest, too; but I’ve routinely told people that my life is one long cautionary tale about what not to do stacked with one miscalculation after another. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to reach adulthood and not have to come to terms with the unwise choices and wrong decisions I’ve made along the way. I’ve allowed my feelings to be hurt from things someone said or didn’t say while telling myself that if it were the other way around I would’ve treated them differently. But how accurate is that picture I paint of myself?
I’ve made assumptions about the calling God has placed on my life. I’ve misinterpreted the vision He’s given me and incorrectly assumed that it will all unfold in a timely and orderly manner-until it doesn’t. I have mistaken a season of God pruning my heart and life so that abundant growth can happen as His punishing me-not His kindness in wanting my life to bear abundant fruit. I’ve miscalculated the impact of delaying my obedience to take the next step God gave me and have missed His blessings because of it. I have miscalculated the destruction that evolved from one seemingly small, but sinful, choice.
In all of my missteps, it’s easy to believe that our Father couldn’t possibly love and forgive so much misguided behavior. Yet, He does. No different than the father in the Prodigal Son story, God is keeping His eye on me and waiting for me to begin my journey back to Him.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” Luke 15:20b
Whatever miscalculations you have made, I want to encourage you to know that your Father LOVES YOU and is filled with compassion for YOU. The moment you choose to turn towards Him, He will RUN to meet you with His arms open wide to hug and kiss you too!