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The Joy of a Parent

By Thelma Owens
If you have ever given birth to a baby, the very first time you laid eyes on that child the joy you felt inside could not be explained. I thought about how it feels being a proud parent when I look at my own son and realize that I have to love him unconditionally no matter where he is in life.
On my way home from work yesterday, I was stopped behind a school bus dropping students off at their stops.  I watched as a little boy jumped off the bus and ran across the street to greet his mother.  Upon seeing his mother, the boy grew in excitement with a huge smile on his face.  He stuck his thumb out as if he was thumbing a ride home.
 
I witnessed the joy on that mother's face to see her child come home.  With all that's going on in our school system and the world today it should be a joy for every parent to see their child return home.Watching the interaction between this mother and her child, the words that came to mine were "The joy of a parent".
 
I pictured the prodigal son who left home and spent up all his resources and ultimately ended up in a hog pen.  The bible says that the father was overwhelmed with joy to see his son come home.  One might ask, why was he overwhelmed with joy more so than anger? He had reason to be disappointed in his son for the foolish decisions he had made. However, coming from a parent's point of view, who wouldn't want to see their child safe and doing well. The bible says with "love and kindness have I drawn thee", the father showed his son that he could love him no matter the condition, just like our Heavenly Father love us unconditionally.  A parent may experience anquish over the lost of a child be it spiritually, naturally or both. The father thought his son was dead but he soon found out that he was very much alive.  Let's see what the scripture says:
 
Luke 15:20 (b) While the son was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt sorry for his son.  So the father ran to him and hugged and kissed him, his father was overwhelmed with joy.  (v-22) the father said to his servants, hurry! Bring the best clothes and put them on him.  Also, put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.  And get our fat calf and kill it so we can have a feast and celebrate.  (v-23) My son was dead, butnow he is alive again! He was lost, but he is found! so they began to celebrate. (NCV).
 
From the little boy at the bus stop to the son who left home I thought about our loving Father in heaven.  How it must thrill him when we come to him with smiles on our faces.  Even when we mess up and make mistakes the Father welcomes us with open arms. He gives us his best when He presents his loving embrace. When I think of the joy of a parent I reflect on our Father above.  He loves us so much that he doesn't keep record of our wrongs when we come to Him with a true repentant heart.
 
Can you imagine our Heavenly Father embracing our love toward him when we come to him in childlike innocence pouring out our hearts?  He stands ready to receive us into His care.  The Father is looking a far off and waiting for many of us to come to ourselves, I pray we will realize where we are and ultimately find our way back home into right relationship with the Lord, like in the story of the prodigal son, a feast and celebration awaits.

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