Special Agony - by Greg Steggerda

Jesus has a special heart for the lost. I used to think that, because of the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the prodigal son - I read all three again this morning in Luke 15. I used to think that, but looking at the story of the prodigal son this morning, I think I had it wrong. I think Jesus has a special heart for everyone; he feels a special agony for the lost.

In that parable, the father explained himself to the faithful son this way, in verses 31-32: "'My son,' the father said, 'you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.'"

Why did the father care so much about his lost boy? That son had brought him nothing but heartache and trouble, and cost him a lot of money. The son who stayed was the opposite, a strong partner and source of pride. Why was dad always looking down the road for the one who had wished him dead?

Parents know. When you really love someone, all you want is what’s best for them. You know all the ways they’re hurting themselves, and your heart breaks every time you think of it. Christians know an even greater source of pain, the idea that one day we’ll be in heaven and our loved ones won’t. No one feels the pain of another like a parent.

Except God. God in his omniscience knows and feels every second of loneliness, depression, addiction, anger, bad health, toxic relationships, and abusive behavior. God knows even the slow withering of the soul that happens in the ones with no relationship with him.

And God cares. He loves us all beyond any measure we’ll ever understand, but he agonizes over every lost person. He wants nothing more than to see each one coming down the road back home.