God has revealed himself in many ways to us.
He has a plan for each of us
to be a part of His family forever.
We need to learn how to be
good sons and daughters in His family.
First we must all learn to repent.
A Story of Repentance
When Reba was sixteen, her mother died in a car accident. She felt devastated and alone. Her father could not console her and her younger sister was too little to help. Soon Reba gave up on her family and began to run with a rough crowd. Her friends were into drugs, sex, and wild times. At first she hid this wild side from her father, but he started seeing obvious signs of her lifestyle. One day he found drug paraphernalia in her room and confronted her when she came home from school. He insisted that she stop using drugs and hanging around with her wild friends.
The next morning Reba dressed very modestly to please her father and promised to be better. She told him how she was walking to school alone without her usual friends and would be back later to watch her sister when she came home from her kindergarten class. But when she was sure her father was off to work she returned to the house and stole her mother’s jewelry and some money that her father kept in a secret place. Soon she was on a bus to Las Vegas where she thought she could find work.
Things didn’t go well in Las Vegas. Reba was too young for a job in any of the casinos. She pawned her mother’s jewelry and went through her father’s money quickly. Soon she was desperate, homeless, and hungry. Then she saw some other girls her age making money at strip joints and as prostitutes. She didn’t seem to have a choice, so she joined them.
Several years passed. Reba was making enough money to survive but was very unhappy. She felt sick all the time and was too poor to see a doctor. Her illness worsened until she was so sick that she fainted on the sidewalk waiting for a bus. Someone called an ambulance which took her to a nearby hospital. When she woke up late that night she began screaming because she was alone in a strange room. A nurse finally came to reassure her that she would be okay and that they would be running tests to see what was wrong with her.
The next day she felt like a guinea pig as doctors took samples to run tests. She waited anxiously for the results for another day until the doctor finally made the rounds to her room. He seemed to almost despise her as he looked down and said bluntly, “You have an advanced case of AIDs and will need special care until the end.”
“What am I supposed to do now?” she said. “I’m broke and dying.”
The doctor suggested some local charities then left the room. Reba called a few friends but they couldn’t help. So she dressed, left the hospital, and headed back to her apartment. There she changed clothes and headed for the strip joint. Her boss took one look at her and fired her on the spot saying that she looked like a corpse and would scare away the customers.
Reba looked in her purse and counted her money. Nervously grasping a wad of dollar bills in her hand, she walked to the bus station to see if she had enough money to travel back home. Her mind churned anxious thoughts about going home. Maybe her father would let her stay if she cleaned house and cared for her sister, but would he trust her? She had enough for the journey to her hometown and lunch, so she boarded the bus. It was late at night when the bus arrived. She had no more money for a taxi, so she walked several miles to her home. It was locked except for the garage where she collapsed on an old couch and passed out.
It was bright when she woke up the next day. As she opened her eyes, she saw her father and realized that she was in her old room. Startled, she said, “Dad, I’m really sick and I don’t have any place to go. I’m sorry for stealing Mom’s jewelry and your money. Can I work for you and stay until I can get back on my feet?”
As her father hugged her and kissed her on the forehead, he replied, “After I brought you here from the garage, I peaked in your purse and saw your hospital release form. I called them and they told me about your condition. I know you don’t have much time left. I have prayed for your return from the day you left. I am so happy that you have come back. Please stay here with me and your sister so that we can be together for the rest of your life. You will have the very best care.”
How to Repent
Like Reba, we simply express
our sorrow for offending our father.
We express our sorrow
for offending God.
We promise to abide
by the rules of His house.
A Prayer of Repentance
O my God, I am heartily sorry
for having offended you,
and I detest all my sins
because of your just punishments;
but, most of all,
because they offend you, my God,
who are all good
and deserving of all my love.
I firmly resolve
with the help of your grace,
to sin no more
and to avoid the near occasions of sin.
Prayer of Repentance Explanation
What are the rules of His house?