---Growing up the little boy always seemed to be getting into trouble. He was always messing things up for himself at school and always making trouble for his parents at home. As time went on he became a teenager and the rebellion became even stronger. Deep down he wanted to please his parents, but his friends and girlfriend came first in his life. Many times he found himself arguing with his parents over something very clearly wrong, but he wasn't about to let up. On and on this kept up for many years until the teen graduated high school. His parents had high hopes for him and they were thankful that he would be getting away from the "wrong crowd". The boy now turned young-man had other ideas. You see that "wrong crowd" didn't go away after high school. He felt the pressure to hang out even more. To live the life of a person relying on other people to do everything for him. Quickly his life began to spiral downward into drugs, alcohol and even theft. The young-man's life was falling apart. Years went by with no communication with his parents. He didn't bother to write or call or even stop by and say hello. He was living his life the way he wanted to. He thought he was living his life away from authority and away from ridicule. As time went on, the young-man turned into a man. His parents hadn't heard from him in many years, they didn't know if he was alive or dead. They hadn't heard a single word from him.
Finally, the man hit his rock bottom. He had gotten high the night before and broke into a house and got caught stealing from another person. His sentence was relatively short and he did alot of thinking while in the jail. The man decided he needed to turn his life around. And that all started with his parents. The man cleaned up his mind, his soul, his body and went down to the train station. He bought one ticket back home. Before the day of the train ride, he sat down and wrote his mother and father a letter. In that letter he explained that he understood that they were probably furious with him and had lost all hope. He also stated that he would understand if they didn't love him anymore and didn't want to have anything to do with him. Deep inside, the man felt like his parents probably decided to forget about him. The man's letter continued and he stated his deepest apologies to them. He informed them that he was in fact coming home at last. He spoke about how much he missed them and how much he loved them. He then stated in the letter; "Mom and Dad, do you all remember that apple orchard not far from our house where the train tracks run next to? If so, and if you will accept me back into your lives please place a red ribbon around one of the trees so that I might know that you have forgiven me and that you love me and that you want me back. If there is no ribbon, I will understand, and I will remain on the train and continue on my way". The man understood that his parents probably would toss the letter aside, as if they had no son anymore.
The day came for this new-starting man to board the train and head for home. While on the train, he sat next to an elderly man who appeared to be by himself. While traveling, the two men began a conversation. The eldery man asked the younger man, where it was he was headed? The man began to explain to him his life story. About how he had forsaken his parents and how he had gone against everything they had told him to do in his life. He also explained to the old man how it's been many years since he's even spoken with his mother and father. This brought tears to both of the men's eyes. The old man, feeling awful for the younger man, said to him, "well what can I do to help you, young man?" The young man replied, "I can't bare to look at the apple orchard. It's coming up quickly and I just can't do it. Please look for me and tell me if there is a red ribbon or not." The old man agreed and as they became closer and closer to the apple orchard, they were heading around the final long turn. The apple orchard was ahead. As the young man, put his head in his lap and closed his eyes, the old man continued to look out the window. The old man yelled "YOUNG MAN, LOOK!" and the young man picked up his head and looking out the window he saw not one single red ribbon on the apple trees.... he saw hundreds, upon hundreds of red ribbons on EVERY tree, and around EVERY branch in that apple orchard! ----
This story shows God's love for us. No matter how many "wrong turns" we take in life, God is only ONE turn away. Turn to Him. That's all he asks. Just like the man in this story, he thought he would manage his life all on his own. But as you can see, without using the guidance and judgement of his parents, he lead a life that was steering in the wrong direction. Sometimes it takes us hitting rock bottom before we realize, HEY, I need JESUS in my life. It is my hope that this story has shown the love of God and just how much He loves us. He doesn't just love us a little bit.... He loves us enough to put a ribbon on EVERY tree in the orchard! God Bless!