“You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you.”Psalm 86:5
I have told this story dozens of times thanks to Max Lucado. The story of Maria and her teenage daughter Christina helps us to understand forgiveness. The story takes place in Brazil. Christina is tired of living in the dusty village and longs for the excitement of a big city. One morning her mother finds her bed empty….
Longing to leave her poor Brazilian neighborhood, 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 hurriedly packed to go 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 street walkers 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 too 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.”
What does God’s forgiveness feel like? It feels like coming home. If you need the Lord’s forgiveness but have been too proud or too afraid, take a few minutes to express your need to Him. Make this time your special homecoming.
PRAYER: God, I’m ready to come home. Let me feel you’re love and know that You WANT me to come home and to experience Your love and forgiveness.