My Father, My Father
By Shawn R. Jones
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
When I was seventeen years old, I sat in my bedroom thinking about my biological father. I had not seen him in seven years, but for some reason, on that particular day, I became overwhelmed by emotions and flashbacks of time spent with him. I walked in my mother’s bedroom and fell on the bed crying, releasing feelings I had suppressed.
“I want my father,” I cried like I was still ten years old, waiting for him on the front step.
After a brief search, I found him in Leesburg State Prison with a six-year sentence. For his remaining years of incarceration, I visited him regularly, and we talked on the phone extensively. He shared stories of his tragic past and ongoing struggle with a heroin addiction. We talked about God, and he told me how he would hide his Bible from the other inmates as he walked across the open field of the minimum security prison.
When he was released, we spent less time together than when he was incarcerated. I began to worry. Then, in the middle of the afternoon, I heard a small knock on my front door. It was my father. He looked much thinner than he had before. I let him in. Humbly, he asked me if I would pray with him because he felt himself “slipping back.” He confessed that he had drunk some alcohol and a bottle of cough medicine. I remember thinking, At least it’s not heroin. He lightly yanked my hand, pulling me slowly down to my knees. He prayed fervently to the Lord. When he left, I just knew he would be all right. Shockingly, less than a year later, he died of a heroin overdose.
I became angry, guilt-ridden, and depressed. I kept thinking, My father and I prayed together, and he still died. I just did not understand, and I did not want to go to church anymore because the last thing I wanted to hear from people was, “God won’t put more on you than you can bear.” Then, I dreamed my father came to me and told me to keep my family in church. The dream seemed so real that I figured it was a message from the Lord.
My family and I kept going to church, and eventually I learned that you don’t have to understand everything to have a relationship with God. You are going to be disappointed sometimes, and people you love are going to die. People have been dying long before you were born, but when it becomes personal, you are more likely to change your perception of God and walk away from Him. Today, I am telling you to stay with Him, and if you don’t know Him, find out Who He is by consistently praying and reading His Word. When I found God, I realized that He was the father I was crying for in my mother’s bedroom.
Dear Lord, help me realize that life on earth is not supposed to be perfect, but You remain perfect even in the face of tragedy. I love You, Lord, and I am going to follow You, no matter what each day brings. Thank You for loving me, and thank You for bringing me through. Amen.
Reprinted From Pictures in Glass Frames
Ambassador International, 2011
Shawn R. Jones
Author of the devotional book, Pictures in Glass Frames http://t.co/BxiNwWRG
and the poetry chapbook, Womb Rain,