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 15:20)

DID YOU EVER WONDER what the rebellious son looked or smelled like when he returned to his father? We don’t know every place his foolishness took him after he chose to leave the father, but the young man literally hit the bottom of the pigsty. The stench may have been nauseating and his physical appearance appalling as he fell into his compassionate father’s open arms. Anyone else would have been repulsed by the filthy, unkempt son, but not his father. The wayward one was held in a close embrace; a broken relationship was being restored. Nothing else really mattered.

Unexpectedly, the father lavished even more grace on the son: he dressed him with the finest clothing and threw a party. To any outsider, the celebration would have seemed ludicrous; to the gracious father, the long-awaited day had come. For his grateful son, it was a new beginning.

We also rebelled against our Father. Some of us know what it’s like to hit bottom, and others of us found that our tattered rags could not hide our prideful selves. Returning to our Father’s open arms, we found acceptance, grace, forgiveness, and His unconditional love. The relationship that we chose to walk away from was restored by our loving Father. He covered us with the robe of Christ’s righteousness, and one day soon we’ll celebrate with Him forever.

Let’s rejoice in our restored relationship with the Father, because nothing else really matters.

Kathern Nemec lived most of her adult life in her husband’s native Argentina. Now residing in Ohio, she works in Spanish customer support and translation.