forever and ever!

forever and ever!

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This is by far one of my most favorite paintings of all time. After reading Henri Nouwen’s, “The Return of the Prodigal Son,” (i highly, highly recommend this book, by the way) two and a half years ago, this story and this painting have continually stood poignant in the back of my mind. It is such a reminder of God’s unconditional love – if only we would allow ourselves to be loved, and to see ourselves as God sees us. No matter what!

One of my classmates had this painting printed out on the front cover of his binder. We then shared with each other why it’s such a good one – for him, he works with people struggling with addiction and it helps him and his clients in his ministry. For me, it is another reminder of our humanity, but the refuge and forgiveness that we may always find in the mercy of our Father. 

One of my greatest mentors reminded me that it may certainly be a life’s journey to accept ourselves – our failings, our weaknesses, our mistakes we have done in the past. But, perhaps this painting can provide us with some daily dose of real, unconditional love, that we may so often forget about.
 

 “The Prodigal Son” by Rembrandt

“Returning to God’s Ever-Present Love” – Henri Nouwen

We often confuse unconditional love with unconditional approval. God loves us without conditions but does not approve of every human behavior. God doesn’t approve of betrayal, violence, hatred, suspicion, and all other expressions of evil, because they all contradict the love God wants to instill in the human heart. Evil is the absence of God’s love. Evil does not belong to God.
God’s unconditional love means that God continues to love us even when we say
or think evil things. God continues to wait for us as a loving parent waits for the return of a lost child. It is important for us to hold on to the truth that God never gives up loving us even when God is saddened by what we do. That truth will help us to return to God’s ever-present love.
 
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