1. In the Family
In the Family
Mariam, a young girl, and her brother Noah run to Rivka’s home for help. Laila, Mariam’s mother, is sick. Rivka rushes to help Mariam, and her sister Sara, care for their mother. When Mariam goes out for water, she sees her brother Dawud nursing a bleeding arm. But he rushes off without explaining. Mariam returns and Rivka prays to God in Jesus’s name for Laila to be healed. Mariam sits quietly and prays with her. But when they’re done, she says she feels ashamed when she prays. Rivka assures her that God cleanses people with the death and resurrection of Jesus. Anyone who accepts Jesus is at peace with God.
Moussa, Mariam’s father, comes in to check on Laila. He’s disappointed to see Rivka there and tells Mariam that Rivka should go. But Mariam insists Laila asked for her friend.
Later, Romans come looking for Dawud. They were attacked in the night by Dawud and his friends. They look around, but he isn’t there. Mariam rushes to check on Laila. But Laila’s only concerned about Dawud and what he’s done. Mariam bitterly talks about Dawud and how selfish he’s being. She wonders if God could accept someone so selfish. Rivka tells her the story of the prodigal son. A son asked for his inheritance early and then goes away and squanders it. When he’s poor, friendless, and about to die, he remembers his father and returns home. His father happily receives him back into the family. Rivka says God receives any lost person the same way... with open arms.
Rivka decides to go home. She tries to assure Mariam that there is hope in hard times. But Mariam takes another look at the bloody bowl Dawud was using and frowns.
How can you know that you’re at peace with God?
Why is Mariam angry with Dawud?
What does the story of the Prodigal Son tell you about God’s attitude toward you?
Mariam worries about her prayers. She thinks others are better than she is and feels ashamed. But Rivka explains that no one can come to God on their own, including her self and Laila. Everyone has done something to disobey or hurt God. Everyone needs Jesus.
When Rivka reminds Mariam that she’s already accepted the truth of Jesus, Mariam can know that she’s been welcomed into God’s family and that God hears her prayers. We, too, can be sure that things have been made right between God and us if we’ve accepted Jesus’s sacrifice to cover our sins. When we talk with Him in prayer, Jesus is our mediator. He stands by us as children of God and allows us to talk to our Heavenly Father.
Later, Mariam wonders what God thinks about those who don’t follow Him, people who act selfishly. Rivka uses the story of the Prodigal Son to illustrate how God feels about every lost person. Everyone who doesn’t follow Jesus is also loved by God. They’re not considered enemies, but something more like lost sheep. We’re to treat them with the same care, compassion, grace and mercy. People who don’t believe are similar to believers in that we all need Jesus.