The princess and the plea (best of “Father Love”)

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 things she wanted. Day by day, there was love, protection, and laughter. Everyone thought she was blessed to have a rich and caring father. Everyone but the little girl.

It’s not that she was ungrateful. It’s just that sometimes his kindness went unnoticed. Her father always provided. He taught her well. He gave her lots of attention.  But the adopted daughter, now a young woman, grew to expect his generosity. She even thought she deserved it.

For a while, she looked beyond her big, safe home for new adventures. Oh, she visited briefly when she needed something. Or when her dad called to say he missed her. But more and more often, the daughter kept her distance. And you know what? It got easier to ignore her father’s influence. To pretend he didn’t exist.

One day she found an old, faded envelope. Inside was a story, a newspaper clipping from long ago. She’d almost forgotten the headline: “Hopeless Girl Adopted, Saved by Respected Gentleman.” Underneath was a photo of her father holding his daughter tightly. The grip was sure, eternal. The love in his eyes was tender. Pleading, almost.

Memories flooded–Flashbacks of her dad’s great sacrifice. Of his hopes for her future, of his willingness to transform her from pauper to princess. She suddenly realized her selfish response to his unselfish love. And the daughter was heartbroken.

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. No judgments, no “I told you so’s.” Just the joyful homecoming of daddy’s little girl. Just a fairy tale come true as her Father–the King of Kings–blesses a thankful daughter with happily ever after.

“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).

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This post first appeared in August 2011 under the category “Father Love.” I’ve tweaked it just a bit. During a short writing break in July, I’ll feature three “best of” posts from past blogs. Enjoy, and I’ll be back with fresh inspiration in August! ~Ava Sturgeon

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