‘Hitting rock bottom’ as they say is often packed with a truckload of grace, for three reasons: 1) the realization that your life is a complete train-wreck; 2) there’s no place to go but up; 3) you can’t get home without more help than you can possibly imagine.
The prodigal son wanted his inheritance now! The thought of breaking his father’s heart didn’t occur to him, nor the countless hours his old man would look out the window and just stare, longing for his son’s return. The Scripture doesn’t say how long he was gone. He sure did know how to party, but once his money ran out, his ‘friends’ disappeared. A famine came on all the land and work was hard to find. One thing led to another and he found himself tending pigs and so hungry that the slop they were eating didn’t look half bad. At that point he realized what an absolute wreck he was. This image is that moment.
As he’s heading home hoping to at least come back as one of his father’s hired hands, rehearsing his “I’m sorry father” speech, he sees this speck off in the distance coming closer and closer. He realizes it’s his father sprinting like Carl Lewis toward him. Before he can get a word out he’s smothered. The son gets out his speech, but the father didn’t hear a word. He’s preparing a party that would have made even King Solomon proud. “This son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is now found.”