“But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion;” Luke 15:20
“What woman having ten silver coins, if she loses one of them, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it?” Luke 15:8
The two verses above give opposing views about the nature of God. Is God a God who waits and watches compassionately for us to return? Or, is God a God seeks diligently and hunts and hunts until we have been found?
The parables in Luke 15 are about seeking and waiting. The shepherd seeks the lost sheep. The woman sweeps and searches for the lost coin. The Father waits for his prodigal son to return. We worship a God who both pursues us with passion and waits for us with patience.
How do we know whether God is waiting for us or pursuing us at any given time? We may not know. In fact, it may be that God (who is not limited by our experiences or imagination) is doing both most of the time. God is passionately pursuing us, always pressing to love us more fully. God is patiently waiting for us, never coercing us to move faster than we are willing. So God may “find” us yet also find that we are not yet ready to be “found.” So God, like the father in the prodigal son, simply watches for openings and changes in our life and in our souls and then loves us. In other words, sometimes God sets the schedule. Sometimes God abides by the schedule we set. But in either case, God continues to love us and God promises to be there for us.