"For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found." And they began to celebrate. Luke 15:24
Zella Jackson Price had already lost a son during a premature birth.
Because of that she was deeply concerned when, only seven months into her next pregnancy, she was rushed to the Homer G. Phillips Hospital in St. Louis. About an hour after the baby, Diane, was born, the doctors paid her a visit and said things didn't look good for the 2.3 pound baby.
As this was 50 years ago and before modern medicine had made great strides in the care of early births, Price was not shocked when a nurse came in and said, "Your daughter has passed away."
Looking back on that day, Price says, "I experienced the same sinking feeling when they told me my son died, so I didn't question it. I left that hospital thinking another one of my babies had died. I felt that sense of loss, and I was heartbroken. But I did what anyone else would do: I went home and went on with my life."
Price ended up having three more babies; all of whom have done well.
That's the way Price's life might have stayed if it hadn't been for the fact that the children of adopted Melanie Diane Jackson wanted to find her biological parents. They wanted to surprise their mother with that information for her 50th birthday.
So if you've stayed with me so far, you already know the rest of the story.
Somebody at the hospital had goofed. Maybe a lot of somebodies goofed a lot of times. Price's baby didn't die. No, she was adopted some 50 years ago. Her baby was told her mother had abandoned her.
But that was then and this is now. Now mother and daughter are reunited. To paraphrase our text above: for this my daughter was dead, and is alive again; she was lost, and is found. And they began to celebrate. DNA samples have proven they really are mother and daughter. No doubt, no uncertainty.
Oh, there's one other thing they did: they gave thanks to God.
When Price found out her daughter was alive, she said, "To God be the glory!" Price's grandson, Samuel, said, "All the glory goes to God." And that's the way it should be: the Lord getting praise for this reunion of family.
But there's one more thought I'd like to give you before this devotion ends. Many of us are surrounded by God-given children and grandchildren. They are healthy; they are happy, and we have never been separated.
It occurs to me that if a family which has lost 50 years together can celebrate, maybe we who have always been together ought to do the same ... and more. Let us give thanks to our Heavenly Father, and our dear Brother and Savior Jesus, for His ongoing protection and grace.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, grant that I, a blood-bought member of Your family of faith, be faithful. Further, let me be thankful for all the tragedies that have never happened in my life. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries