Scripture Reference: Luke 15:11-31

What do you when you have lost something valuable like your wallet? 

You search. The search becomes a journey of overturned couch cushions, rifled through drawers and automobile glove boxes. You go through every purse or worn pair of pants. And you look in jacket pockets and on shelves everywhere. You wrack your brain and keep looking for it until you find the missing wallet. Because it is something of value, you do not stop until you find it. 

But, have you ever lost yourself in the search? Have you ever become so involved in the search that you forgot where you were? Or it could be you forgot where you were going, and forgot who you were?

Everyone is searching for something. It seems as if each of us have lost a piece of ourselves and are on a journey to find the missing item, the missing experience, the missing feeling, the missing thing that will fill hole. We’re all searching for what will give us the sense of worth, security, stability, connection, meaning, purpose, love, healing. 

We are looking for the lost sense of wholeness. 

The Search for Wholeness 

And, so we search. 

We look for security in material wealth. 

“A little more and I can insulate myself from discomfort. I can buy my health through modern medicine. You think, I can buy my safety by a nicer ZIP code. I can buy my happiness with newer items.” 

We’re starved for meaningful connection in a transactional world. We value our worth in swipes right, likes, and serial strings of relationship-like transactions. Building our own personal empires and reputations we attempt to be permanent in a temporary world. Yet, lasting stability is never found because we try to find it in temporary people, places, things, buildings, or experiences. Here today, gone tomorrow. Substituting other philosophical origin stories, humanity has tried to ignore why we we have lost ourselves in the search for wholeness. But, it can never cover up the longing for peace we all have. 

The biblical book of Ecclesiastes, describes the reason we search. “He [God] has also set eternity in the human heart.” The longing we feel is a reminder that permanence, stability, meaning, purpose, and wholeness were ripped away from us. It was when Adam and Eve, acting as humanity’s representatives, chose to throw away the completeness and wholeness God had given us (see Gen 1:26-31 and Gen 3:1-10). When we talked about transcendence, we found that since the entrance of sin, we have been trying to play God in our own lives without success. We are still searching for wholeness. 

Wholeness Found

Through a story, Jesus tells us how to find the wholeness for which we so desperately look. Luke 15:11-31 shares how a son severed his sustaining, stable relationship with his father. Demanding his share of the inheritance, he wanted to live his own life. In the original Greek, he quite literally asked for his share of “life” (Luke 15:12). The story shows the son squandering his life on parties, experiences and pleasure. When life’s hardship hits, the son begins to feel his emptiness Luke 15:14-17). Even stripped of his dignity, his search for fulfillment, leaves him empty and spent. Finally, able to see what he’s made of himself he knows where to return in order to find wholeness and restoration (Luke 15: 18-20). 

He returns home. 

Staring down the road, day after day, the father waited for his son to return. And, when he finally sees him a long way off in the distance, he takes off running. His son was coming back! Looking past the scars, the hurt, the emptiness, the rejection, the father saw the child he loved. Wrapping him up in the biggest hug, the father escorts his long, lost son back home. 

—Prescott Khair, Bowling Green Seventh-day Adventist


Further Reading: Luke 15:11-3; Genesis 1-3

  1. Where have you been searching for wholeness? 
  2. What do you need to find your way home to God? 


God, I have been searching for something to fill the emptiness. I am tired of searching. It has left me beaten and bruised. The world around me is a harsh place. It feels like it has sucked the joy, the peace, the stability, and the life out of me. I want to be whole again. I know that only comes from connection with you. Connection to you will change every part of my life. I choose to let you in and I am done living on my own. I need you. Please, clean up the mess of my life. I give it to you. 

Persecuted Nation: #10 India