There are many examples in Scripture of God’s love for those who did not return His love or for those who had known His love and then turned away. Sometimes He asked His prophets to demonstrate what He was trying to teach the people about His love.
Haggai was one of those prophets God used. He was married and then his wife became a prostitute. God asked him to find her and take her back as his wife, as an example of His love for Israel, even after she turned her back on Him.
So often we accept His love and salvation, become His beloved, and then we follow the allure of the world and, like Haggai’s wife, we prostitute ourselves. He doesn’t give up on us. He may come after us like the Shepherd looking for the lost or wandering sheep.
One familiar story that Jesus told about the prodigal son, always captures our imagination. He asked for his inheritance while his father was still alive and then went off and wasted it, in a far away land. We might wonder, how long it took him to realize that he had made some bad choices?
And what about the father, who never stopped looking down that dusty road, shading his eyes against the hot sun, longing to see his son coming. Patiently he waited and the day finally came when his waiting was rewarded. Away, in the distance he saw something. Could it be? Eagerly, he watches.
He sees someone, clad in scanty, dirty clothes, trudging wearily along the dusty road. The father runs, something out of character for a man of his stature. He runs toward him and embraces this unkempt child who smells like pigs.
The father disregards the appearance of his child, he is filled with love and joy for his return. The son returns in an attitude of humility. Gone is the pride, gone is the sense of entitlement. Now the words are, “Make me as one of your servants.”
The circle is complete, the same dusty road going away, leads home. Broken and wiser, the son is home. Jesus told this story about a son but it could just as easily be about a daughter. I’ve been on that dusty road. Coming home, I found the Father’s love and forgiveness.