A story is told of a father and son in Madrid, Spain who had a falling out.  The son left, never expecting to return.  After many months the father put an ad in the paper for his estranged son that read :  “Paco, meet me at the Hotel del Centro at noon on Tuesday. All is forgiven! Love, Papa.”

When the Father arrived at the Hotel del Centro that Tuesday there were 800 young men named Paco waiting for their fathers…all on their own quest for reconciliation!

The longing for forgiveness, the hunger for acceptance from our Father, the thirst for love—this is what drives us all. It makes no difference who we are, what station we have in life, or what role we play.  We were wired to experience the Father’s love. In His strong arms, resting our heads on his heart, is where we all want to be.

At the Love In Action Center, where retired couples and orphans alike tread the ground that is level at the foot of the cross, I see this quest for love and acceptance on all sides. The kids are looking for kind, gentle, wise parents. The retirees are looking for the opportunity to love without the risk of disappointment. The kids are young but have a void that is defined and deep: with no living parents or parents that are alive but are so abusive that a separation is necessary. The retirees  are much older and on the surface would seem to have it all together. Yet inside, many of them are looking to experience—- in the disarming smiles and tender hugs—- the unconditional love they never got from their own children.

Many come to Love In Action hoping to have a second chance at loving. Many are lonely. No matter. It’s all good. It’s all God. HE is the one who works to will and to do of HIS good pleasure in us all.

I think God designed life so that we would need each other and most of all need Him. Our limitations and frailties draw us to the place where God can mold us to be more like Jesus.  While there is the desire inside all of us to strike out on our own, scream “I AM!”  and scamper off to carry our own weight and build our own dreams, the One who created us calls us to take up the cross, recognize our weakness, and lean into the Father’s love.

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