I trembled with expectation as my neighbor Janet parked her station wagon. One glance at her grim face and her adult daughter’s sympathetic eyes told me all I needed to know.
My daughter was still missing.
They had combed the area, driving up and down the alleyways, avenues and streets but had not seen her or her bright red tricycle.
“Where could she be? She’s only four!” My voice quavered.
“You’d better call the police, honey.” Janet clasped my hands. “We’ll keep praying.”
I do not know how I managed to find the door through the tears that blinded me. Once inside, I paused before reaching for the phone. I’m sorry, Lord, for not watching her more carefully! God, I’m frightened. Please, protect Alicia wherever she is.
So many minutes had passed since she had disappeared.
Every missing child story forced its way to the forefront of my memory. Too many of those children were still lost, even with authorities involved in the search. But some had been restored to their families.
That thought moved me to action. I gripped the phone and punched numbers, willing my voice and my hands not to shake.
“Police dispatch,” a female voice responded.
“My little girl is missing,” I stammered.
“Could you describe what she looks like?”
I gulped as I tried to remember what she was wearing that morning. “She has brown hair and brown eyes. I put her hair in a topknot. She had her red trike. . .”
The dispatcher interrupted me. “I have a little girl that matches that description sitting in my lap. Would you like to talk to her before you come to get her?”
Relief made my muscles weak. “I’ll be right there,” I answered.
My child is six years older and the police no longer question her when they see her riding her bike. She was physically missing, but what about those children who are ‘missing’ spiritually?
The police are not called in for these prodigals. Dialing 9-1-1 does no good.
The child roams far from the spiritual truths he has heard. He plays where he should not be. He is not aware he is lost and refuses to hear the pleading of the parents’ hearts. He gets injured because he has strayed.
But for the earnest prayers of a few battle-scarred prayer warriors, none know how to help. The parents whisper prayers of desperation into the night and wonder if someone will return him to God’s family. They have knots in their stomachs when they think about their ‘lost’ child.
To every parent who worries about one who has wandered from ‘home’, listen. Even if you do not know where that beloved child is, the Lord does. He is watching and protecting him better than any police officer could. Though that child wanders dangerously close to the precipice of hell, God spares him because you have cried out to your Lord.
He knows you desire to have that child restored to fellowship with Him. He desires the same thing. Will the Lord of all creation, the God who knows when a sparrow falls to the ground, fail in His love for your prodigal child? Even now, He is listening to your tearful prayers and answering. Now is the time for trust and perseverance. Do not hesitate to call out to Him. God is in the business of restoring prodigal children to His family.
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