Once upon a time there was a very rich and very famous man who adopted a little girl. He gave her everything she needed. He also gave her many things she wanted. Day by day, there was love, instruction, and laughter. Everyone thought she was blessed to have a rich and famous and caring father. Everyone but the little girl.
It’s not that she was ungrateful. It’s just that sometimes— many times, actually—his kindness went unnoticed. I guess you could say she took him for granted. Her father always provided. He gave nice gifts. He offered great guidance. And the little girl, now a young woman, grew to expect his generosity. She even thought she deserved it.
For a while, the young woman wandered from home, her beautiful mansion with sure protection, for new adventures. Oh, she still came around when she needed her dad. Or when he called to say he missed her. But more and more often, the daughter kept her distance. And you know what? It got easier and easier to stay away. To pretend she didn’t belong there.
One day, she found a yellowed envelope. Inside was a faded story, a newspaper clipping from long ago. She’d almost forgotten the headline: “Hopeless young girl adopted, saved by wealthy, respected gentleman.” Underneath was a photo of her father holding her tightly. The grip was sure, eternal. The love in his eyes was passionate. Purposeful. Priceless.
Memories flooded, flashbacks of her dad’s great sacrifice. Of his hopes for her bright future. Of his willingness to change her from pauper to princess. And of her selfish response to these undeserved gifts.
Maybe you know this young woman. And maybe you know the rest of the story, the part where she runs as fast as she can to her father’s house. Where she finds him waiting with arms outstretched. Perhaps your favorite scene, like mine, is his warm embrace when she returns. He hopes she’ll stay this close!
And in this reunion (it lasts forever), there’s no judgment or “I told you so’s.” There’s no room for that here, in this part of the story. Everywhere you look, there’s an overflow of love and forgiveness. Oh, and mercy. And grace. Her Heavenly Father’s unimaginable goodness.
Could this story be yours? For just a minute, no pretending, no once upon a time…. I wonder if you’ve felt those same arms of forgiveness. Or His perfect, unending love. I wonder if you’ve embraced His sacrifice, through Jesus Christ, into the family. And if you have, I wonder what you’re doing with it. Are you resting joyfully in the truth of who you are? From hopeless pauper to purchased. A once lost daughter whose Father–the King of Kings–pleads for your faithful heart.
- “I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you” (Isaiah 44:22).
- “But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever” (Psalm 52:8).
- “God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body” (1 Corinthians 6:20).