Getting right with Dad … and God

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June 19, 2016

I adored my father. … Still, our bond was not always so tight. In fact, it was so strained at one point; I didn’t speak to him for two years. I was angry for both real and perceived slights.

Return of the Prodigal Son, by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, 1667-70, oil on canvas, National Gallery of Art, Washington.

Return of the Prodigal Son, by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, 1667-70, oil on canvas, National Gallery of Art, Washington.

This was a sad period. There was estrangement between me and my father, estrangement between me, my immediate family and extended family members. There were no visits on holidays, no phone calls, and certainly no “Happy Father’s Day” wishes on that special Sunday. I was so certain that I was right and justified in my anger, and this probably would have continued indefinitely except something happened.

My relationship with my daughter deteriorated. She was in her teens, 17 to be exact, and rebellious. She had kept her waywardness well-hidden from her mother and me. By the time I discovered it, my attempts to correct her course seemed to have just the opposite affect intended. I tried to cut her off from a group of friends that I believed were a bad influence, but she would ultimately leave our home and run away with them.

It was devastating. One day, I was so sorrowful and distraught I dropped to the floor on my knees and prayerfully begged God in tears to bring my daughter home. It was then God spoke to me powerfully. What I heard in my head and heart was as near to an audible voice as one might expect to hear in faith. In my distress God said, “Mark, why should I bring your daughter home, when you haven’t spoken to your father in two years? Go and be reconciled with your father.”

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