I’ll admit to liking Facebook, but I’m not entirely unaware of the numerous problems it presents. I know it is a mixed bag at best. But Brian Lowery, the managing editor of Christianity Today, recently shared a story that demonstrates some of the benefits of Facebook’s far reach:
When Avril Grube's marriage came to an end in 1982, she decided to remain in her hometown of Poole, Dorset (U.K.), while her husband returned to his native country of Hungary. The couple had one son, Gavin, of whom Avril was awarded sole custody. Avril's husband was only given visitation rights.
One day, while in town to visit his son, Avril's ex-husband asked to take Gavin to the local zoo. Avril agreed, and off the two went for a day of fun. As day turned into night, however, Avril became worried. She waited and waited for them to return, but they never did. She would soon learn that Gavin's father had taken the boy back to Hungary.
For years Avril and her sister searched for Gavin, going so far as to take up their case with former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and the authorities at the Hungarian Embassy. But their efforts were fruitless. Over time, Avril slowly lost hope of ever seeing her son again. But 27 years later—27 years—she found him.
In March of 2009, Avril's sister typed Gavin's name into an internet search engine and found his Facebook profile. Avril and her sister immediately started sending him messages. When Gavin didn't respond—they later learned he doesn't use the account with any real consistency—they started messaging his children, who also had Facebook accounts. Eventually, the two finally reconnected after so many years apart.
"She is absolutely on cloud nine," Avril's sister told a reporter for BBC. "They have been hugging—really, really happy."
Can you imagine what it must have taken to keep hope for all of those years? Anna and Simeon can. They searched for the deliverance of Israel and for the Messiah well into old age. They kept hope alive for decades. This Sunday we’re going to hear more about them.