Did it ever surprise you that in the story of the prodigal son, the father actually gave the son his inheritance early when he asked for it? “‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood.” (Luke 15:12)
Why didn’t the father just say no? I think that’s what I would have done. Why not kick the son out with nothing? Or lecture him about greed and selfishness? The father simply did what the son asked. I know it is only one small detail of the story — not the full point, but I wonder if there is a lesson for us even in that.
I wonder if this response reminds us of God’s respect for our free will? When we really want to be rebellious – when our hardened heart is set on it – God seems to take his hand away and just let us do it. That’s not the end of it however.
In the story of the prodigal, the father kept watch for the return of his son. “When he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.” (Verse 20)
Consider your own free will. How often has it chosen rebellion over obedience to God’s ways? Is there an area right now in your life where your free will has gotten you into a nice big pig pen? Why not use that same free will to turn around, repent and run back into the Father’s arms? He’s still watching for you no matter how far off you are!