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Friday, January 24, 2014

Paul and Michelle Simmons

The Photograph

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?

David A. Sargent

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