She was vacationing in Hawaii, strolling along a shop lined street with her husband when her eyes fell on a homeless person sitting leaning against a building wall.
Her eyes noted his appearance. His uncut fingernails and toenails had grown to a grotesque six inches long. His hair was long, dirty and matted ; his clothes old and smelly.
My friend whose heart is easily moved by any street/homeless person felt immediate compassion for him. "Oh... don't you feel something for that man?" she asked her husband. "NO!" was his quick retort.
They continued back to their hotel room but the vision of the man did not leave my friends' mind and she prayed. She felt God speak to her about the man and she went to her husband. "Don't you think God wants us to do something for that man?" she queried.
"Yes, He probably does !" responded her husband.
Agreed on what they could do for him, they left their hotel hoping the man was still there.
My friend approached the man, telling him how much God loved him and shared the simple gospel story/message. She told me she will never forget his eyes when he turned to look at her. In spite of his outwardly revolting appearance she looked deep past that and saw the kindness buried deep within.
She and her husband gave him what they felt God had directed them to give and told him again how much God loved him. He responded tearful and thankful.
The next day they visited a shop on that same street. They questioned the shop owner about the homeless man they had seen the day before.
To their incredulity she told them that the homeless man was the son of the actor who had played the father in My Three Sons !
When I got home I researched the personal life of Fred MacMurray. Who doesn't remember the TV sitcom "My Three Sons" ? (at least anyone over the age of 45 - smile)
I found out that Fred MacMurray had been married twice. He and his first wife adopted two children, a boy , Robert, and a girl. When his first wife died, he remarried and adopted twin girls.
That homeless man my friend helped was that son Robert, born in 1946.
It is the kind of story that tugs at your heart.
A child is born to a mother who either could not or would not keep him.
But he is 'chosen' by parents who want him, love him, and give him all he could possibly want - a life that other children could envy.
What happened to this boy, Robert?
Did the sorrow of losing his Mom to death add to the buried fear that his birth Mom had not 'wanted him' ? Did he never feel he had a place in the love of his step Mom ? Then when his father died in the early nineties did that completely crush his heart ?
Did he make the wrong choices ? Choosing to believe the father who adopted him and left him his worldly goods did not really love him?
My thoughts go to the parallel story that concerns all of us in a spiritual reality.
A child is born into the world of sin, vulnerable to all the pain and rejection the world offers.
Then at some point in their life they recognize and reach for the love of God.
God, with the heart of an eternal Father, picks them up and adopts them into His own family.
A Father's love covers them with promise -- all their needs met in this life and full inheritance of eternal life after death!
And yet when life does not take the path they expected, when experience disappoints, when trials and difficulties come --- instead of using the resources and promises held out to them from the hand and heart of their heavenly Father --- they allow doubt and fear to take hold and grow in a darkening soul.
And then with the passing of time they are found to be sitting on the sidelines, a sorry shell of the once favored child of God. Those passing by quickly turn their eyes away and move their feet to the other side of the street.
How very sad!
But even then.... it is not too late... God is waiting, longing for the prodigal son to come home so He can restore him to live in the abundance of His love, enjoying the joys of His Presence!
Perhaps you once knew God but have wandered after your own way -- or perhaps your heart is aching for a loved one who has turned away from the God that loves them.
The heart of God is always longing toward His children .... We see it so clearly portrayed in the story of the prodigal son..... "And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off , his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him!" (Luke 15:20)
In Hosea 14 God pours out His heart to His people calling them back to Him. He says.. "Oh.. return to the Lord your God .... and ... I will love them freely!" (Hosea 14 - from verses 1 and 4)
God is 'no respecter of persons' and if you are reading these words... the following words of God are spoken about YOU ! "whom I created for my glory, yes, personally formed and made each one.'" (Isaiah 43:7)
God love is for you .. and He has a personal reason/purpose for creating you!
If you have wandered from God ... reach out to God ... He is already reaching out to you ...
May your response be "Indeed, 'I' do come to you... for you are the Lord 'my' God! (Jer. 3:22) *