If you’ve ever prayed Lectio Divina, you know how it feels when a verse stands out to you. This has happened to me multiple times with scripture before, but never in fictional reading. Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son was on my mind, after hearing it two days in a row with the Bible studies I lead and attend.
In this scene, Adam and his father Cyrus are walking, when they come upon a place where Adam would hide when he was punished by his father or felt bad. They stare at the hole near the stump and his father says he knew about the hiding place all along.
“Adam was staring at his father. ‘You never came here looking for me,’ he said.” – East of Eden, page 26
I thought about Adam’s heart in this line. Somewhat crushed, longing for his father’s love. Adam wants to be sought after, to be found, to be consoled. But Cyrus replies that he would never look for him because it would drive him away. Poor Cyrus. This is the exact opposite of what we want. The human heart desires to be loved and pursued.
This longing and relationship between Adam and Cyrus is drastically different from the relationship between the father and his two sons in the Gospel of Luke.
My favorite verse in the parable of the prodigal son is verse 20 when it says “While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him,” because we learn that his father was looking for him. The father did not wait behind the door or get distracted with other things. He stood outside waiting for his son to return, in hopeful anticipation. The father rejoices when his son returns and calls for a celebration.
Even as the older son returns from work, jealous of his brother and angry at his father, “when he refused to enter the house, his father came out…” For this brother, the father seeks to remind his son that he does not go unnoticed, because “everything I have is yours.” He goes looking for the older son as well to remind him that he is loved.
Unlike Adam and Cyrus, the father goes looking for both of his sons. He seeks them and embraces to them in love.
God the Father is always in pursuit of our hearts. He fulfills our desire to be found in every way. God waits for us when we finally return and reminds us of our place with Him. He desires for us to return to Him, so that He can celebrate us, love us, and invite us into the home in His heart.