In his book No Wonder They Call Him Savior (Multnomah Press, 1986), Max Lucado told the story of a mother and daughter who lived in a poor neighborhood on the outskirts of a Brazilian village. Their small house was much like any other on the street. But Maria and her daughter Christina had tried to make the gray walls and dirt floor of the one large room less drab. There was no money for anything better. Maria had been widowed when Christina was a baby. She had refused marriage proposals, gotten a job as a maid, and provided for her child.
Times had not been easy but now that Christiana was fifteen years old she could get a job and help out. Things would be better. But Christina didn’t want to get a job in the dusty little village. She didn’t want to marry and raise a family even though prospective husbands, attracted by her beauty and musical laughter, beat a steady path to her door. Christina dreamed of going to live in the city with all its excitement. Whenever she mentioned it her mother would say, “People don’t know you there. Jobs are scarce and life is cruel. If you went there, what would you do for a living?”
Maria knew enough about city life to know what Christina would have to do for a living. She continued to try to change her daughter’s mind. But one day she awoke to find Christina gone. Maria knew immediately where her daughter had gone and what she must do. Quickly she packed a bag and gathered all the money she had. She ran to a drug store that contained a photograph booth. She sat in the booth until she had filled her purse with little black and white photos of herself. Then she caught the bus for Rio de Janeiro.
Knowing what hunger could drive a person to do, Maria began her search in the bars and hotels that were frequented by prostitutes. At each place Maria left a small photo of herself with a note written on the back. She put the photos on mirrors, bulletin boards, and phone booths. Soon Maria had run out of money and photos and had to return broken-hearted to the bus station for the long trip back to the dusty village.
A few weeks later Christina descended the stairs of a hotel in Rio de Janeiro. Her eyes were no longer lit with laughter and dreams. The dream had become a nightmare. She wanted to go home. But home seemed too far away—another time, another life. At the bottom of the stairs her eyes caught sight of a familiar face. A picture of her mother was taped to the lobby mirror. Christina fought back a lump in her throat as she took the picture from the mirror and turned it over. On the back she read her mother’s message: “Whatever you have done, whatever you have become, it doesn’t matter. Please come home.”
And she did.
As deep as the love of a parent for a child can be, it pales into insignificance in comparison with the love of the heavenly Father for His children. Jesus Christ came to earth “to seek and to save what was lost” (Luke 19:10). Knowing how far we’d fallen from what we should have been did not deter Him from seeking us. He sought us to save us from ourselves. And He put reminders of His love all around us to relay a message: Whatever you have done, whatever you have become, it doesn’t matter. Please come home.
Vicki Huffman has explored the love between mothers and daughters, a love that doesn’t always run smoothly, in her novel, A Secret Hope. Recently republished through amazon.com to be more affordable–$2.99 Kindle and $9.99 print–you can read the first chapter free here .
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