Is It Time to Return?
Lucinda Secrest McDowell
“Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your hearts, with fasting, with weeping, and with sorrow; tear your hearts and not your clothing. Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, very patient, full of faithful love, and ready to forgive.” Joel 2. 12-13 CEB
Though she had a loving mother, life in her poor Brazilian village provided only a pallet on the floor, a washbasin and a wood-burning stove. Christina dreamed of more. And she expected to find it in the Big City – Rio de Janeiro.
It broke her mother’s heart. Maria knew that her beautiful daughter had no way of making money and would be forced to do whatever was required when pride meets hunger. So she packed a small bag, bought a bus ticket and stopped briefly at the drug store photo booth for lots of small photos of herself.
This desperate mother trudged through the city, stopping in the worst places – bars, nightclubs, seedy hotels – anywhere that prostitutes might frequent. And in every location, she taped on the mirror a small picture of herself with a note on the back. And prayed. Soon out of money and pictures, she took the bus back home to her village.
Weeks later, a disillusioned and broken down Christina descended some stairs in the latest hotel, feeling exhausted and fearful. Living a nightmare instead of a dream. How many times had she wished she could trade any of those countless beds for that safe pallet back home? But she could never go home again. Not now. As she walked to the door her eye caught sight of a picture of her own mother on the lobby mirror.
What in the world?
Written on the back she read, “Whatever you have done, whatever you have become, it doesn’t matter. I love you. Please come home.”
And she did.
Have you wandered far in search of more?
Seeking a path of sensation, significance or security? Only to discover the price was far too dear — you had to forfeit your scruples, your self-esteem, and perhaps even your soul. But now you realize that going it alone is highly overrated. Listening to the world’s views will only confuse and confound.
Is it too late to return to the God who knows you best and loves you most?
Now is the perfect time to “Return to the Lord your God.” He is waiting to welcome you home. But it does require a choice.
During this season of Lent — forty days building up to Easter — there is ample opportunity to offer up your own tears and sorrow, your broken heart and shattered dreams, your disobedience or shame. God still loves you. He still wants you. And His arms are open to receive, “for he is merciful and compassionate, very patient, full of faithful love, and ready to forgive.”
Today is Ash Wednesday – a good time to return to the Lord in contrition and repentance. We have strayed and turned our attention to other pursuits. We have too often neglected to provide our children and the world an example of Christianity. But today we begin anew.
Today, we return.
under the mercy, Cindy
©2017 Lucinda Secrest McDowell
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