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Friday, May 30, 2014

A Lost Dad Is Found

By Lisa Branton

When I was eighteen, my dad said he was done. Being done can be okay, but he meant he was done with me. I learned much later that he was going through a tumultuous time and did not want me to learn the details. Incredibly, he led me to believe it was my fault. Thankfully, I was plugged into a fabulous campus ministry and had a loving group of mature believers to tell me how God felt about me. I had discovered my Bible and quiet times in prayer, and my heart was brimming with truth. I knew I could not have deserved to be disowned, but I was devastated nonetheless.

The years ticked by and I healed and I thought about my dad. I would occasionally hear some piece of news about him and my step-mother and step-sister. God would prompt me to send a card periodically and I called once the first year Tom and I were married. He was unresponsive. I wish I could say I prayed for him faithfully. To be honest I spent years feeling it was hopeless. So I prayed on and off. Tom and the kids prayed for him. I was always grateful for the help.

About three years ago, in September, I received a birthday gift from my dad. Tom, the kids and I gathered around the mysterious arrival and studied the brief note tucked inside. It seemed to have a pulse and we wondered about its intentions. Would it grow and ask for entry into our lives. Would it stir a dormant pot only to leave again? The kids wondered out loud if they may get a grandpa. I cringed and cautioned their hopes back in place.

Two months later the phone rang and one of the kids whispered, “It’s some old man on the phone.” I already knew it was him. I had just spent the day wondering if he had gotten my thank you note and pondered with Jesus if I should follow up with an email or a call. I did not want to appear unresponsive. He had been unusually on my heart and in my prayers most of the day. We talked for about thirty minutes, and what I remember most were these words: “It’s your dad. It’s all my fault. I’m sorry. I take full responsibility. Could we get together?”

I learned God had been working in his life. He and his wife joined a church and met a strong Christian family. Last year was my dad and step-mom’s fortieth wedding anniversary. Dad surprised her with a trip to the church where this influential, Christian family was waiting. Without a dry eye in the room, he was baptized.

I still stand in awe. God is faithful. I believe He is moved by our prayers, even spotty ones. He pursued my dad and step-mom, loved them, and prompted them to restore relationships. Isaiah 30:18-19 says, “So the Lord must wait for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion. For the Lord is a faithful God. Blessed are those who wait for his help. O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. He will be gracious if you ask for help. He will surely respond to the sound of your cries.

He waited for my dad to come and He showed him love and compassion. Let God know the cry of your heart. He will come for indeed, He is gracious and He is faithful.

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