God wants to forgive and transform his rebellious children. Following is the fourth and last part of the parable, “The Runaway,” which is segment # 7 of Rescued by Mercy by Judith Vander Wege)
When Lu Ann visited her daughter in the treatment center three weeks later, she marveled and rejoiced at the difference in Stephanie’s appearance. Her neatly combed hair hung over her shoulders, and her eyes, no longer furtive, looked searchingly into her mother’s as if wondering if Lu Ann would believe her, as if knowing she had no right to expect it.
“I’m sorry, Mom. Really sorry.”
Deja Vu again. How long had Lu Ann been waiting for this? She looked at the girl sitting on the bed facing her. Could she believe her this time? She wanted to, with all her heart. But it was hard.
Stephanie looked down at her hands, then up again at her mother. “But I’m not asking to come home this time. I just want you to forgive me for all the heartache I’ve caused you.” Stephanie cleared her throat, looking away with tears in her eyes.
“Honey, I love you…” Lu Ann said, but stopped when Stephanie looked back and lifted her hand, looking her mother directly in the eyes.
“I’m asking if it’s okay with you if I go to Teen Challenge. When Maria talked to me last week, I wanted what she had, joy and peace. She told me about Jesus Christ, as if he is her best friend. And I guess he is, but so much more ….
“Anyway, when she prayed with me, it seemed like a prison door opened and I could walk out if I want. I do want to, Mom. I asked Jesus to forgive me. Now, I want to follow him. I know I have a problem with drugs and I want to get rid of it. Maria says Teen Challenge can help.”*
Overjoyed, Lu Ann gave her permission. They discussed the details, then parted with the first genuine mutual hug Lu Ann could remember for seven years.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord Jesus, that you give hope to the hopeless and that you can change rebellious hearts. Forgive us when we don’t obey you. Teach us to trust you more completely. Please convict us if we are rebelling without realizing it so we can confess to you and receive forgiveness. Amen.
*Footnote: Teen Challenge, started by David Wilkerson in 1958, is known throughout the world for providing successful recovery programs. For information see [email protected] or call (417)862-6969.