God explains, “For I know the plans I have for you, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
Jesus speaks of the man with two sons. The younger son wants his inheritance now. The man gives his sons what should come to them in the future. The younger leaves for a faraway country “where he squanders his property in reckless living.” (Luke 15: 13) He becomes so desolate that he eats the corn husks left behind by the pigs. “When he comes to himself,” he realizes that even his father’s servants are in better shape than he. So, he returns home. (Luke 15: 17)
From a distance, his father sees him. He “feels compassion, and runs and embraces him.” (Luke 15: 20) He throws a huge celebration for the recovery of his youngest son.
The older son, who remains in the field, hears the music and the laughter. He comes close enough to discover that his younger brother has returned, and that their father has “killed the fattened calf.” (Luke 15: 27) He is livid; his anger so intense he refuses to enter the house. He pouts that he has not received recognition for staying put, for serving his father diligently.
His father entreats, “Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.” (Luke 15: 31 – 32)
God is always waiting for exiles to turn from Babylon. His plans are for our good; He is prepared to kill the fattened calf, turn up the music, celebrate our return from the deadness of the world. God gives us a future and a hope, whether we are always by His side or whether we run away then turn to seek Him.