José! José! Wake up!" Mama was calling." José, wake up and come. Mama's sick!"
José was awake now and went to his Mama's bed. He hadn't been sleeping well because he knew that his Mama was very ill. Now at her bedside, he was wide awake.
"José," she gasped, "you must go for Grandma! I'm very sick. Go get Grandma to help."
José lived in a small village called Cornaca which was high in the Andes Mountains. The people who lived there were very poor. Most of them made their living growing a few crops and caring for goats. José was only a boy, but he knew the path to Grandma's house, although it seemed awfully long in the middle of the night. He hurried along the shorter path by the riverside because he knew that they must get back quickly to Mama.
Mama! She was the only one José had. There were no brothers or sisters, and Papa had run away and left them. Yes, Grandma must come quickly and help Mama get better. Mama was the only one who belonged to José.
He arrived at Grandma's little hut and called, "Grandma! Wake up! Wake up and come now, because Mama's sick!"
Grandma got up and soon they were both hurrying along the path back to the hut where Mama was.
Grandma did all she could to help, but, sadly, it was too late. Nothing could help now. Early that morning José stood unbelieving as Grandma told him that his dear Mama was dead. How could this happen? Who would be his very own now? Would he have to live alone?
Grandma took José home to her little hut, but even Grandma couldn't ease the ache in the small boy's heart. He felt forsaken. There was no one who loved him like Mama.
Sad to say, José did not know about the kind Saviour who loves little children. He had never heard that God is a loving Father to those who trust in the Lord Jesus. He had never read or even seen God's precious Word, the Bible, that tells us that the Lord Jesus "took them [children] up in His arms, put His hands upon them, and blessed them" (Mark 10:16). No one had ever told José these things, and his heart was sad and lonely.
Some time later, Papa came back. It was not a happy meeting. Because Papa had been gone so long, he seemed more like a stranger. Now his message to Grandma was surprising. "I want José to come with me. I have married again, and I need José to work in the fields. He's coming with me." There was no use for José to fight against it. What could a small boy do?
So José left with Papa to go to a new home ... only it did not seem like his home. His new stepmother thought he should work hard. Sometimes he had to work with Papa in the fields, and sometimes he had to care for his stepbrothers and stepsisters.
It was not long before another trouble came into the life of poor José. Papa was working as a witch doctor. Sometimes he was able to cure sick people, and he demanded to be paid in strong drink.
It was a very sad life for José. Through the years he had to work hard, and his heart was sad and lonely. But God was tenderly watching José from heaven and planned one day to show him how great and how tender God's love is for poor lost sinners. However, that day was still a long way off. Before José was to learn of the greatness of God's love, he had another very sad day.
Papa was having more success in being a witch doctor. But since his pay was strong drink, Papa was often drunk. Finally one day Papa had a hard time contacting the evil spirits as he worked as a witch doctor. He drank more and more, but still could not contact the evil spirits. Poor Papa found that the devil was a hard master, and he died that day from too much drink.
What a sad day for José! Papa was gone too. He was a real orphan now, and his life began to be more difficult. He was the oldest child, and he had to help his stepmother with all the hard work that Papa used to do. His stepmother did not love him, and she often beat him.
José endured many long, hard days until finally he could stand it no longer. He had to do something. He would run away! He would find his way back to Grandma's house. Life would not be so bad there.
José watched for an opportunity to escape, and he left. He headed for the village where Grandma lived. He knew he must get away fast before anyone came to look for him. He went quickly over the dusty trails. Sometimes he walked and sometimes he ran.
Suddenly, José heard the clip-clop of a horse behind him. They were coming for him! Where could he hide?
There was no place to hide! The horse was coming closer, so José ran, anywhere, as fast as he could! Suddenly the horse was beside him, and strong arms swept him up into the saddle.
His stepmother had sent the neighbor on a horse to find him. He could not get to Grandma's. He was taken back against his will for more beatings and more long days of hard work.
José now felt very forsaken. No one loved him and there was no one for him to love. He thought, I'll never have a home and I'll never have my own family. I'll always be only an orphan.
José would have been right in thinking that he would never have a family ... if it had not been that God had a special and loving plan for him. God is a loving Father and desires to have children of His own. He chooses poor lost sinners to be cleansed from their sins and adopted into His family. God sent His only Son, the Lord Jesus, into this world to save sinners. The Lord Jesus shed His precious blood for sinners so that we might be welcomed into God's own family. "As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name" (John 1:12).
José still did not know about God's wonderful plan. He lived with his stepmother for several more years and waited until he was older and stronger to run away again. This time he got away and felt that he could manage by himself now. José found work in a mining town. Not long after this he was invited to some Bible meetings. For the first time he heard God's good news, that "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners" (1 Timothy 1:15). He heard that God loved him, a poor orphan, and that the Lord Jesus had died for his sins. José lonely heart accepted God's loving offer, and he was saved. Now he suddenly found that he had a family! And what a family! There were not just a few, but many hundreds of believers who told him that they were all his brothers and sisters in Christ. "We have the same loving God as our Father," they explained to him. José had joy in his heart that he never thought was possible.
If you were to visit José today, he would tell you that God has done wonderful things for him that he had never dreamed of when he was a poor orphan boy. He knows he has a wonderful home prepared for him in heaven, but God also lovingly gave José a home here in this world. He has a lovely young wife and three small children. Recently José said, "I never expected to have a house or a family, but God has given me both. I never thought that I would ever live in a house as nice as the one that God has given me. God has been very good to me!"
God wants to be a Father to you, just as He is for José. He has a wonderful plan for your life, and it all begins with the same good news that brought joy to José. "The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23). Have you received God's gift? He is waiting to take you into His family. Trust in the goodness of God and receive His Son, the Lord Jesus by faith today! "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God" (1 John 3:1).