Sarah had been born into the poverty stricken state of a coal miner’s family in the backwoods of her rural town. She had known lack and want, and she did not like either.
As a child, she determined that there must be a better life than the one they lived. She told her mother that as soon as she could, she would leave for the big city. Her mother tried to dissuade her, knowing what the city could do to her, but nothing deterred Sarah.
On each birthday, Sarah repeated her desire. And, sure enough, on her eighteenth birthday, she left home without even telling her mother. When her mother realized that Sarah had left, she got on her knees and prayed. She then gathered all the money she had sacrificially saved over the years and headed into the nearby town.
In town, strange enough, she went into the only photo studio and made as many portraits of herself as the money could buy. She then took the bus to the big city. Along the journey, she passed the time by writing the same message on the back of each photograph.
When she arrived, she searched in every bar, nightclub, strip joint, motel, brothel and other places of ill repute for her daughter. On leaving each location, without finding her, she left one of her pictures in a conspicuous place, hoping that Sarah would someday find it. Finally, when the pictures ran out, she went home and waited.
Some years later, Sarah staggered out of a motel room and went to the public rest room. She had been raped, drugged out, abused and left for dead physically and emotionally. As she saw her mother’s smiling face taped to the mirror of the rest room, her heart broke.
She took the picture down, and read the message on the back: “Sarah, what ever you’ve done. What ever you’ve become. Just come home!”
Sarah has been home since, recovering from the past, with her mother’s love, whilst building her future.
This reminds us of the parable of the Prodigal Son who was able to walk away from the pigsty and meet his loving, waiting father. It also reminds us of the redemptive Jesus and His message, written in His “word”, to lost souls – “Come unto me all ye that labour and I will give you rest” [Matthew 11:28].
What have you done in your life? What have you become? It really doesn’t matter; Jesus is calling you by name. Why don’t you just come home!