I went up to see my mum today. I’ve mentioned before, she’s a great story-teller. Well today she was telling me about how her sister, my aunt, was looking after my sister when she was about 5 years old. They were having a walk through some woods, when she suddenly disappeared. My aunt started to hunt for her, calling her, and getting more and more worried. There were a few people around, and she kept asking if they’d seen a little girl with pigtails. At last one gentleman said, “There’s a little girl by that bus stop. Is that her?” My aunt ran to her, both hugging and scolding, so thrilled to see her.
There’s a story that Jesus told, about a father whose son had gone missing. When life went totally pear-shaped, the son finally returned, humble and repentant. The father had been on the look-out for him, and when he saw him, he ran to greet him, overjoyed. (Luke 15:11-24).
When Jacob and Esau finally met, it was a bit like that. Jacob, reluctant, fearful of the response he would be greeted with; Esau, running to meet and embrace his lost brother (Genesis 33:4).
Reconciliation is a beautiful thing. These stories all remind us of our heavenly Father, seeking us out, forgiving, rejoicing in our return, offering us his full, limitless, unconstrained love.
Sadly, though, the story of Jacob and Esau tell a tale of a limited reunion. Esau appeared to offer renewed companionship, but Jacob was cautious and untrusting. He made his excuses, and slipped off with his family and flocks in a different direction.
I wonder how Esau felt then, when he realized Jacob had given him the slip, and was backing out on the renewed relationship. And I wonder how God feels when he has offered us his full, sacrificial love, delighting in our company, only for us to wander off again and prefer other pleasures, giving him a morsel of our time when our consciences dictate we ought. If we had a fraction of knowledge of how much he loves us, we’d be the ones running to him,