Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.
— John 1:12 NIV

While reading a Rick Warren sermon from a series titled Seeing Yourself As God Sees You, I came across this story. It teaches us a truth about how to get out of the wilderness.

A man named Fred and his wife were vacationing in Tennessee. They were seated at a table when an old man came up to them and asked, “Are you folks on vacation?”

“Yes,” said Fred, “and we are having a great time.”

“What do you do for a living?” the old man asked.

Fred, trying to get rid of the guy said, “I am a preacher.”

“Oh,” the old man said, “then let me tell you a story.”

The old man pulled up a chair, sat down and told them that he was born into a difficult home situation. He told them his mom had a lot of issues and he had never known who his father was.

“That was hard on me as a kid,” the old man said. “Adults whispered about me behind my back. I started spending a lot of time alone. I did not try to make friends. One day, a new pastor came to town. I decided to go and hear him speak. Each time I went, I would come in late and leave early so I would not have to talk to anybody. But one Sunday, I got caught in the crowd and did not get out in time. Suddenly I felt a hand on my shoulder. It was the pastor, and he asked me, ‘What is your name boy? Whose son are you?’ I just stood there and shook. But before I could say anything, the preacher said, ‘I know who your family is. I see the family resemblance. Why, you are a child of God.’ You know, mister, those words changed my life.” And with that, the old man got up and left.

The waitress hurried over and asked Fred and his wife, “Do you know who that was?”

“No,” said Fred.

The waitress smiled and said, “That was Ben Hooper, two-term governor of the State of Tennessee.”

A boy learned that he was a child of God and it changed his life. He learned that he could become a child of the King. His dignity and self worth no longer came from the people around him, they came from his heavenly Father, who loved him and gave his life to save the boy’s soul.

Are you a child of God and a member of his family? If so, hold on to that truth. Remember that, even if you find yourself in the wilderness, you can put your hand in his, and he will lead you safely forward and, eventually, home.

If you have not made that decision, do it today.