A Message for Prodigals
The steps of a man are established by the LORD, and He delights in his way. When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong, because the LORD is the One who holds his hand.
Maria and her daughter Christina lived in a small hut in a Brazilian village. Christina's father had died when she was just an infant, and her courageous mother had done her best for the child. Maria made her living by cleaning houses, though it provided very little income. The day came when Christina was finally old enough to earn her own way.
Instead of finding a small job in the village where she had grown up, she dreamed of going to the great city, Rio de Janeiro, and seeking an opportunity there. But when she told her mother of her desires to leave the village, a look of fear came into Maria's eyes and she said, "The streets are cruel, Christina. There's nothing for you there."
Maria knew that if her daughter went to the city, the only work she would find at her age would lead to prostitution. That's the reason Maria's heart was broken the morning she found her daughter's pallet empty. She knew where Christina had gone, and she feared she may never see her again.
Maria immediately gathered some clothing and boarded a bus for the city. When she arrived in Rio De Janeiro, she went to a small drug store, stepped into a photography booth, and made as many pictures of herself as she could afford. Armed with her bag of clothing and a purse full of little black and white photographs, she headed for the back streets, entering bars, hotels, and nightclubs—anywhere prostitutes gathered. She taped her picture to walls, mirrors, bulletin boards, and bathroom stalls, in hopes that her daughter may see one of them and read the message written on the back.
Tired and broken hearted, out of money and photos, Maria gave up the search and rode the rickety bus back to her village without ever finding Christina. The mother wept for her lost daughter.
Months later, Christina glanced across the lobby of a hotel to see a familiar face taped to a mirror. Recognizing it, she quickly ran to the mirror and pulled the picture off. It was indeed her mother. With trembling hands she held it, staring at her mother's face. Turning the photo over, she noticed the writing on the back. When she read the words, her throat burned and tears began to stream down her face. The note said, "Wherever you are, whatever you have become, I will forgive you. Please come home."
So . . . Christina did.
What a beautiful picture of true mercy; yet this is merely a glimpse of the mercy which God shows to us. Regardless of all the thousands of times we sin, the thousands of choices we make which are contrary to His Word—He continually pursues us and loves us.
Even when we run away, He searches for us, leaving a message that never changes: "Wherever you are, whatever you have become, I will forgive you." And you can count on it . . . He will!
Prayer Point: Thank the Lord that no matter how many times you have failed—and will fail—Him, He never stops forgiving and loving you. Pray that He will help you to love others with that same kind of love.
Extra Refreshment: Luke 15—an incredible illustration of God's mercy toward His children.
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