God wants to relate to us like a father. That’s important to understand because we were all created to have a relationship with our perfect Heavenly Father, a relationship no earthly father can fill. Now, many of you had a good dad but, some of you didn’t. There is no earthly father that can ever fill the father void; this is something only our perfect Heavenly Father can do. It can be difficult for us to understand because we oftentimes put the picture of an imperfect earthly father over the true picture of God.
Fortunately, Jesus painted a picture of the perfect Heavenly Father in the story we call the Prodigal Son. But it’s really the story of the father, the perfect, loving father who represents God. Jesus is trying to get us to understand who God the Father is. Luke 15 says, “Jesus continued: ‘There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, Father, give me my share of the estate. So he divided his property between them.’” The younger son went to the father and said, “I’m tired of doing all you want me to do. I’m going to start doing what I want to do.” Now, in traditional Middle Eastern culture, when a younger son asked for his inheritance while his dad was still alive, he was basically saying, “Father, I wish you were dead and I’m going to live as if you are dead.”
Look what happens right away. “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.” The younger son disconnects from the father. It doesn’t take long for his life to start unraveling and spinning out of control. This is exactly what happens to us when we disconnect from our perfect Heavenly Father. We get overloaded, overwhelmed, stressed out, and worn out. Some of you are thinking, “Kerry, I never thought of myself as the prodigal son. I’m a believer. I’m not running from God.” Yeah, but whenever our life gets out of balance we’re just like the prodigal. We end up lost and far away from the Father’s plan for us.
The older brother wasn’t connected to the father either. He was in close proximity to him, but he wasn’t connected. When the younger son returns and repents, the father throws a party and the older brother is ticked off. Verse 28 says, “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him.” But the son says, “Dad, I’ve been here all along and you’ve never thrown me a party. What’s the deal?” He was revealing that he was never really connected to his father in the first place. This son appeared obedient on the outside, but below the surface he was seething with bitterness. Like these two sons, we stray from God. But like the father in the story, our Heavenly Father always waits for us to repent and reconnect. He is the only perfect father.