The parable of the prodigal son can be viewed from many different perspectives. One which is perhaps not pondered upon much, is that of the attitude to the father. In particular what must he have felt as his son went off. Here is the relevant text in Luke 15:11-13a:
Jesus continued: ‘There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, “Father, give me my share of the estate.” So he divided his property between them. ‘Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country…”
As he saw him go and pondered what the outcome would be he, no doubt, feared the worst; and yet he let him go. We can be assured that the father was not hard hearted and callous towards his son from what we read concerning the son’s return. The scripture says of this that ‘ while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms round him and kissed him (Lk. 15:20a). The impression given is that here was a man yearning for the best welfare of his wandering son; he was longing for him to return.
It is painful to see people choosing to turn away from God in order to go their own way. When you observe the potential for good in certain lives and then see those same people turn away, there is pain. This can be particularly be so with younger ones who go off through being captivated by the deceptive attractions of the world. It is interesting though, that the father of the prodigal son let him go. He knew that the son had to have his selfish pleasure seeking attitude driven out of him.
Knowing this does not diminish the pain though. And then there is the longing that one day they will come back. Oh Lord restore the prodigals.