By Dave MacMillan, Church of the Nazarene, Rimbey
In his book, No Wonder They Call Him the Saviour, Max Lucado relates this story: “Longing to leave her poor Brazilian neighbourhood, Christina wanted to see the world. Discontent with a home having only a pallet on the floor, a washbasin, and a wood-burning stove, she dreamed of a better life in the city. One morning she slipped away, breaking her mother’s heart. Knowing what life on the streets would be like for her young, attractive daughter, Maria decided to go and try to find her. On her way to the bus stop she entered a drugstore to get one last thing. Pictures. She sat in the photograph booth, closed the curtain, and spent all she could on pictures 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 will do things that were before unthinkable. Knowing this, Maria began her search. Bars, hotels, nightclubs, any place with the reputation for streetwalkers or prostitutes. She went to them all. And at each place she left her picture – taped on a bathroom mirror, tacked to a hotel bulletin board, fastened to a corner phone booth. And on the back of each photo she wrote a note.
“It wasn’t too long before both the money and the pictures ran out, and Maria had to go home. The weary mother wept as the bus began its long journey back to her small village. It was a few weeks later that young Christina descended the hotel stairs.
Her young face was tired. Her brown eyes no longer danced with youth, but spoke of pain and fear. Her laughter was broken. Her dream had become a nightmare. A thousand times over she had longed to trade these countless beds for her secure pallet. Yet the little village was, in many ways, too far away. As she reached the bottom of the stairs, her eyes noticed a familiar face. She looked again, and there on the 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 this compelling invitation. ‘Whatever you have done, whatever you have become, it doesn’t matter. Please come home.’ She did.”
The Bible tells us of God’s unconditional love and His invitation to each of us “Whatever you have done, whatever you have become, it doesn’t matter. Please come home.” It is as if God had His picture taken and came searching for us. He left a picture at the place of crucifixion many years ago. When Jesus hung dying on the cross, He called out to God, “Father, forgive them.” He left his picture in the empty tomb on the first Easter Sunday when he rose from the dead. He has been leaving his picture down through the centuries and countless people have seen and read the message and have come home to Him.
Have you seen His picture anywhere? Maybe even today you will be surprised to look up and see His picture inviting you home. Remember, “Whatever you have done, whatever you have become, it doesn’t matter. Please come home.’