For years I’ve benefited from the writings of Henri Nouwen. The Return of the Prodigal Son had a significant impact upon me years ago. It is a reflection Nouwen wrote from his viewing of Rembrandt’s painting of The Prodigal which of course is based upon Jesus’ story in Luke 15.
Recently my wife bought for me a print of Rembrandt’s masterpiece which hangs in my office. As I stare and reflect upon a father embracing his wayward but repentant and returning son I’m struck by the strong but tender grace of the father.
I recently re-read Nouwen’s reflections and was gripped by this thought—
Surrounding the father and prodigal son are four somewhat shadowy figures. They are close to the father. They can hear the father's words to his son. They can see the father’s embrace and acceptance of his son. But they are not themselves touched and embraced by the father.
This is so often my story. I’m close to God, speak with God, hear from God, see the activities of God, but often long to be held and embraced by God. Yet I find that I often choose to stay at some distance. I sense that God wants to embrace my life but there remains some broken “thing” in me that hinders what I truly long for and need.
Are you able to be embraced by God? Let us receive His grace to draw near and be with Him intimately.