If I’m honest, I’ve always kind of envied those of you with dramatic conversion stories.
You know… the ones with drama and suspense. The ones where you hit rock bottom and find Jesus there.
As a little girl, I remember hearing these stories most. They are the stories that always seemed to make the best videos, draw the biggest crowds, elicit the most enthusiastic celebration.
My story is not like this. I was the little girl preaching to my stuffed animals at two years old. Reading the Bible through in elementary school (and no “easy reader” version either—thank you very much). Earning gold stars for Sunday School attendance. Scripture verse memorization. You name it. I was the little girl voicing my concern about the lyrics of Amazing Grace because I wasn’t sure I was really a wretch.
So when I read Luke 15, I have no trouble identifying with the older son. I am no stranger to his judgment and cynicism.
Today, though, it is not the older son that commands my attention.
It’s the Father.
He catches sight of his younger son—the one who will have the dramatic conversion story, and he takes the initiative. He runs to greet him. He invites him in.
Then the Father hears whispers that his other son—the one with gold stars for Sunday School attendance is outside, and again he takes the initiative. He leaves the party and catches this son’s eyes, trying to reason with him. He invites him in.
No matter where our life circumstances may take us, our Father takes the initiative. He runs to greet us, catches our eyes. He invites us in.
The stories are different.
The miracle is the same.
It takes just as much Jesus to rescue a church baby who doesn’t know she’s a wretch as it does to rescue a prodigal who has hit rock bottom.