“The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing. These things—the beauty, the memory of our own past—are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself they turn into dumb idols,breaking the hearts of their worshippers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited” (Clive Staples Lewis, Weight of Glory).
I’ve been thinking about the whole prodigal story from a different perspective. For so long, I’ve always thought about the prodigal as someone other than me. Sure, I’m glad he came home, but I’m also glad that he wasn’t me.
These days, I can see myself as the prodigal son. I may not have run away from home and sowed my wild oats, but I have rebelled in my mind. I have been at times both the younger and the older son in the story.
We are all prodigals a long way from home. As good as this life is, it’s not home. I heard it put like this: at best this life is a clean bus station; you might not mind staying there a while, but you wouldn’t want to live there.
We are all on the road, trying to find our way home. We’ve all had moments when we’ve come to ourselves and realized that we need to change.
The magical part of the story is that we all have a Father who’s waiting at the end of the road. This Father is not disappointed in us. He’s not ready to turn His back on us or disown us.
He’s got his running shoes on and He can’t wait to run down the road and throw His arms around us and welcome us home. He’s got ribs on the grill and a party unlike any you’ve ever seen.
You may have plans to work your way into His good graces, but the most important news is that it’s already been done. His own son has paid your admission fee.
So when you catch the scent of a new flower or hear snatches of a new song, you’re catching glimpses of a home you’ve never seen, but only heard of. But in your heart of hearts, you know it’s where you belong.