Maria and her daughter, Christina, lived in a poor neighborhood on the outskirts of a Brazilian village. Maria’s husband had died when Christina was an infant and she never remarried. Times were tough but at last Christina was old enough to get a job to help out.
Christina spoke often of going to the city. She dreamed of trading her dusty neighborhood for exciting avenues and the city life. Just the thought of that horrified her mother, who knew exactly what Christina would have to do for a living. That’s why her heart broke. That’s why she couldn’t believe it when she awoke one morning to find her daughter’s bed empty. Knowing where her daughter was headed, she quickly threw some clothes in a bag, gathered up all of her money, and ran out of the house.
On her way to the bus stop she entered a drugstore and got one last thing. Photos. She sat in the photograph booth, closed the curtain, and spent all the time she could on making photos of herself. With her purse full of small black-and-white photos, she boarded the next bus to Rio de Janeiro.
Maria knew Christina had no way of earning money. She also knew that her daughter was too stubborn to give up. When pride meets hunger, a human being will do things that were before unthinkable. Knowing this, Maria began her search. Bars, hotels, nightclubs, any place with the reputation for street walkers or prostitutes. She went to them all. And at each place Maria left her photo–taped to a bathroom mirror, tacked to a hotel bulletin board, fastened to a corner telephone booth. And on the back of each photo she wrote a note. Then her money and the pictures ran out, Maria went home.
A few weeks later young Christina descended the hotel stairs. Her young face was tired. Her dreams had become a nightmare. But as she reached the bottom of the stairs, her eyes noticed a familiar face. She looked again, and there on a lobby mirror was a small picture of her mother. Christina’s eyes burned and her throat tightened as she walked across the room and removed the small photo. Written on the back was a compelling invitation, “Whatever you’ve done, whatever you have become, it doesn’t matter. Please come home.”
I am pretty sure this is a fictional story, but it has truth in it.
In the Parable of the Prodigal Son ( Luke 15:11-32) we have a story that parallels this one. In v12, the son asks for his inheritance, which is saying to his father I am not waiting for you to die just give me what I want. He wasted it on reckless (sinful) living (v13) of which his father obviously wouldn’t approve. After squandering everything the son realizes that even being the hired servant of his father would be better than how he is living now. He returns to his father knowing that he is unworthy to be a son. But while he was still a long way off (v20), his father sees him and runs to him and hugs him. The only reason that his father say him a long way off was because he was anxiously waiting the return of his son. Even though he didn’t deserve it, the son restored to his place as a son (v22).
So what does this mean to you and me? If we have been forgiven, we are then restored to our place as a child of God.
If you doubt that, you doubt the power of the blood of Jesus. If you doubt that, you doubt the truth in the promises of God.
Heb 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
So release your doubt, release your worry, and release your pain and believe in the forgiveness and love of God.