Two Sons

Luke 15:11-19

Like the father in Jesus’ story, I have two sons. But unlike the sons in his story, my children could not pay for much dissolute living with their inheritance.

When my first son left for college, I cried. I did not cry quietly in a dignified manner—I wept. I sobbed. I blubbered. I excused myself from his dorm room shortly after Graham’s new college friends arrived, but not before embarrassing everyone.

When Graham left for his sophomore year, I cried again. I cried every year. When our second son, Caleb, went to college, I was an older and more experienced father. I cried. My family has gotten used to it, but I think they feel like they need to be more emotional than they want to be.

When my sons, now 31 and 27 years old, leave after a few days’ visit, I wait until the Uber drives away before I cry. I know how sappy this makes me, but I cannot help it. Our children carry so many of our hopes that when they leave, they take a part of us with them.

After the prodigal son leaves, his father finds a quiet place and cries because his son is taking his hopes with him. The younger son knows that he is taking his father’s money, but he doesn’t understand that he is taking his father’s heart. Even when he finally came to himself (v. 17), he only wants to be a hired hand. He writes a terrible speech suggesting that it is his own worthiness that makes him his father’s child.

Jesus knows what he is talking about. He knows that God’s children carry God’s hopes. God’s love is what makes us God’s children. When we wander off, God’s heart breaks a little.


How should you think about God’s love today?


God, help me understand that I carry your hopes with me, so that I can live in your love. Amen.

This post originally appeared in Volume 30.2 of Reflections.

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