by Don Huffaker

I was talking with a person a few days ago; we were discussing the story of the Prodigal Son. During our conversation it suddenly hit me; what was the Prodigal Son's trip like? What did he do: What were his thoughts?

If by chance you don't know this story, I will read it for you.
It is found in Luke 15:11-32.

As the story says, the younger son goes to his father and asks for his inheritance. The father divides his living between his two sons. The younger gathered up all the cash & sets out to a far country. The older remains there & continues to work with the father. The younger son makes his trip, arrives in the far country, and begins to have a wild old time. If you have money you can attract many people "friends". Money is a magnet. The younger son partied & paid the bills.

One day the money ran out and so did the "friends". When the money was gone the younger son wasn't attractive to these people. They went looking for another person to pay their tabs. Without money or friends, the younger son found himself hungry and with no place to live.

The younger son get a job with a hog farm, not the thing a young Jewish boy would ever think he would do. He was so hungry that he ate of the feed he was giving to the hogs. He was living in the hog pen. I am sure by now he was a pretty sight and smelled so bad. We are not told how long he did this before "coming to himself". When he did, he thought of how great even the servants had it. They had food to spare. The were clean and had a nice bed to sleep in.

The younger decided to get up out of the pig pen and go to his Father and ask to be made a servant since he was not now fit to be called a son. He starts down the road to his Father's house. This wasn't just a few hour walk. Remember, he had gone into a "far country". What thoughts did he have as he walked?

I wonder if he ever turned back. Remember the wild life he had lived & the excitement? Remember the Bible says there is pleasure in sin for a season. Maybe he thought 'I will go back and be like those that used my money. I can sponge from someone. I did like the life style.' Did you ever turn back to your old sinful life even as you started down the road to God? Did you allow Satan or your own lusts to draw you back? Most of us have. It is so hard to give up the pleasures. If I only try it one more time, I am sure it will be different this time. I will strike it rich & live in luxury. I just need to go back one more time.

I wonder if he thought his Father would be angry & punish him? He "came to himself" so he realized what he had done was wrong. He had been raised differently. His Father had taught him to shun sin. He was guilty of disobedience & his Father would be right to punish him. Yes, he might take him back as a servant; his Father was a compassionate man. He would give him the dirty work and make him least among the servants. Did he slow down as these thoughts went through his mind? Then he got a smell of himself and decided even if this were true it was better than the pig pen.

Would his Father be hurt with him? He had taken half of his Father's living and simply wasted it. His Father would be justified to be hurt. Could he ever look at his Father again and see all the hurt he had caused? Maybe it was better for him to just stay here and die soon from the lifestyle he had. It would be better than seeing the pain and hurt on his Father's face. Would his Father ever find the ability to forgive him? Yes, he had planned to admit he had sinned against heaven and before his Father. But could his find it in his heart to forgive? He could if he still loved him; but after all he had done, was there still ove in the Father's heart?

I doubt if what happened ever entered his mind. As the son gets close to home, the Father runs to the younger son and hugs & kisses him. Stinky as he was, the Father saw only his son and the dirt & smell didn't exist to him just then.

The Father not only forgave him, but set him back into the family as a son. He was a son & no matter what he had done, that relationship was there. I am sure the Father was sad that the younger son had strayed from his teaching, but he was so happy to have him home. They killed a calf and had a big party in honor of the returning son.
Have you ever journeyed into a "far country"? I am afraid most of us have. Maybe not to the extent of the younger son, but we have walked on the wild side for a time.

Remember the Father represents God. If you are His son, he will never refuse to receive you. He looks daily for your return. He wants to put His arms around you and welcome you home. There will be a great party in your honor.

If you today are in a "far country", say goodbye the sinful lifestyle and head straight back to God. Don't have fears that He might not forgive you. We are told if we will confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. He wants you home, but you have to "come to yourself" and get out of the pig pen. He will never make you leave; but, if you will, He will welcome you with open arms.
Do you want to stay in that pig pen of sin, or do you want to go home to the spendor of the Father's house? Don't let these things that may have gone through the mind of the younger son keep you from making the right decision. Yes, you may be soiled, but your Father will clean you up & put a new robe on you. The robe of the righteousness of Jesus. It was yours, but you got it dirty.

He is ready to cleanse you from all unrighteousness.