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Monday, March 31, 2014

The Photograph

By David A. Sargent

     The article didn’t say why he left home.  But when 20-year-old Nicholas Simmons left his parents’ home in Greece, NY, on New Year’s Day, he left his wallet, his cell phone, and everything else behind.  When his parents, Paul and Michelle Simmons, discovered that he had left, they had no idea where he had gone or how long he would be away.  They began a diligent search for him.
     Four days later, Jacquelyn Martin, an Associated Press photographer, was in Washington, D.C.  She had been assigned to the White House, but President Obama and his family were on vacation in Hawaii.  Martin decided to look around D.C. to snap pictures that illustrated that unusually cold weather in the area.  She found a group of men huddled by a steam gate outside the Federal Trade Commission.  She introduced herself and began taking pictures.  She noticed one person huddled under a blanket that was unusually young.  “It struck me how young he was,” Martin said. “I again introduced myself and shook his hand. He said his name was Nick.”
     It was the picture of that young man huddled by the steam gate that appeared the following day (Sunday) on the front page of USA Today.  “Nick” was wearing a ski jacket with a hood over his head and a thick gray blanket covering his lower body.
His face was unshaven and he was pressed against the steam gate, obviously trying to keep warm.
     Someone who was familiar with the Simmons’ search for their missing son brought the photo to their attention on a Facebook page that had been set up to help locate him.  Michelle Simmons was certain that the young man in the photograph was her son.  The Simmons contacted USA Today who in turn contacted Martin with a message via Twitter.  The location of the picture was verified and the police were dispatched.  They found Nicholas Simmons and took him to a nearby hospital, where later his family was reunited with him.
     Michelle Simmons expressed her relief on Facebook: "It could have been months before we had a lead on his whereabouts. My baby looks so lost and I will be spending the rest of my life making him well," she wrote.
     Nick’s lost condition “pictures” our own condition in sin…
It is SIN that separates us from God who made us (Isaiah 59:1-2).  Because of our sin, we are lost and struggling in our desperate and deadly state.
     But God knows about our condition and He loves us, even though we have wandered away from Him.  He sent His Son Jesus to “seek and to save those who are lost” (Luke 19:10).  In order to save us and give us the gift of eternal life, Jesus had to die on the cross as payment for our sins (Ephesians 1:7).  Through Jesus, we can be reconciled to God and receive the gift of life with Him throughout eternity in a heavenly home (2 Corinthians 5:17-21).
     God will save those who place their faith and trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from their sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and are baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of their sins (Acts 2:38).  Then God will continue to cleanse and one day “take home” those who continue to walk in the light of His Word (1 John 1:7).
     God doesn’t need a PHOTO to know who you are and where you are.  He already knows.  And, He wants YOU to be His child and enjoy eternal salvation.
     Won’t YOU accept His offer on His terms?

* Information gleaned from the Los Angeles Times (www.latimes.com)

- David A. Sargent, minister for the Church of Christ at Creekwood in Mobile, Alabama, is also the editor of an electronic devotional entitled Living Water."  To learn more about this excellent resource contact David via their website: http://www.creekwoodcc.org


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