I recently read through the story of the Prodigal son in Luke 15. And this time what stuck out to me was not the son’s rebellion, not the other son’s hard heart, not even the father’s lavish grace. This time when I read through this story I was struck by what was not said, what was not described, but what must have been true in the relationship between the father and his boys.
Of course it is a lavish grace that the father extends, but what is amazing is that the manner in which the father lived in front of his sons made it possible for both of them to return to intimate relationship. Somehow the father communicated his love and grace because the prodigal son knew in the depth of his being that his father would take him back. I know that the scriptures place him in a humble position, willing to take a position as a slave, but still the son knew that he could go back, even after completely shaming his family and specifically, his father. So at the depth of despair, in his hour of need, he remembered that his childhood home was an option to get him out of this mess.
This is the part of the story that I wish there was more clarity on. How in the world did the father communicate his overwhelming love and grace to his sons so that they knew in their heart of hearts that they would always have a place at the table?