Many years ago, the famous author Hemingway wrote a little-read short story about a fatherless boy named Paco. His story begins, however, with another boy also named Paco, but this one has a father who’s been desperately searching for him. This dad, in fact, is so lovesick he travels all the way to Madrid in Spain to put an advertisement in the newspaper. It reads: “PACO, MEET ME AT HOTEL MONTANA NOON TUESDAY ALL IS FORGIVEN, PAPA.”
Ironically, in response to the ad, 800 young men show up. Eight hundred! It seems Hemingway knew a little something about that inner longing we have for a father’s unconditional love. He understood, too, how so often that desire to belong, to be accepted, to be known, affirmed, and loved goes unmet.
If you find yourself today feeling like a fatherless Paco, know that you’re not alone. But know this, too. No matter what your situation or circumstances, you have a heavenly Father who always searches for you. He’ll go anywhere, do anything. And if you come to Him, He won’t walk but run undignified down the dirt path. He’ll throw open His arms. He’ll bring out His “best robe” and kill the “fattened calf” just to celebrate you (Luke 15:22). Whatever it takes, God the Father wants you to know: with Him, you’re never lost.
All you have to do is come. So, come today and experience afresh your heavenly Father’s genuine affection for you. Spend a few minutes in His Word. Scribble down your thoughts into prayer. Or just rest your soul in soothing songs of worship until you feel His presence surround you once again. Because, like the parable of the prodigal son, God our Father does not judge or condemn those who come running to Him. Rather, He satisfies our soul’s need for significance in the way that only a Papa can.