"For three days I have been meditating on the story of the prodigal son. It is a story about returning. I realize the importance of returning over and over again. My life drifts away form God. I have to return. My heart moves away from my first love. I have to return. My mind wanders to strange images. I have to return. Returning is a lifelong struggle.
It strikes me that the wayward son had rather selfish motivations. He said to himself, "How many of my father's paid servants have more food than they want, and here I am dying of hunger! I will leave this place and go to my father." He didn't return because of a renewed love for his father. No, he returned simply to survive. He had discovered that the way he had chosen was leading him to death. Returning to his father was a necessity for staying alive. He realized that he had sinned, but this realization came about because sin had brought him close to death.
I am moved by the fact that the father didn't require any higher motivation. His love was so total and unconditional that he simply welcomed his son home.
This is a very encouraging thought. God does not require a pure heart before embracing us. Even if we return only because following our desires has failed to bring happiness, God will take us back. Even if we return because being a Christian brings more peace than being a pagan, God will receive us. Even if we return because our sins did not offer as much satisfaction as we had hoped, God will take us back. Even if we return because we could not make it on our own, God will receive us. God's love does not require any explanations about why we are returning. God is glad to see us home and wants to give us all we desire, just for being home."
The beginning of this passage says everything I feel today. No, my life has not drifted from God, but my heart has moved away from my first love. I've become distracted with thoughts and dealings of school and social life, pushing God aside from His kingly place in my life. I remind myself daily not to do this but alas, my heart and thoughts wander. Oh Lord, take me back once again!