Feb 2, 2012

Leading Unbelievers to Christ, My Earthly Father

When I was seven-years-old, my mother filed for divorce from my father. And with the exception of one short week after I turned sixteen, my biological father and I did not speak for years. Silence remained for over 23 years. Now, I felt a desire to reunite with the man I called Dad as a small child!
One day, while spending some quiet time with God, I felt that familiar feeling in my soul to reach out to someone with the Gospel. I opened an unsolicited email from a company that conducted lost family member searches. “We found him! Just pay $39.95 to receive his information,” the email read. A few years prior, the service concluded that it was unable to locate the man. So, at the time, I stopped searching.
As the Holy Spirit prompted, I asked God, “How can I find him?” Without delay, I remembered a popular social networking site on the Internet and thought, “What if?”
I conducted a quick Internet search. To my surprise, his picture popped up immediately. My biological father looked exactly as I remembered him 23 years ago! I wrote an email to him. “Hi Dad, I have thought of you over the years and prayed for you often. If you ever want to get in touch with me, please do. I am 39, soon to be 40, married with 3 children. My husband is retired Navy. We currently live in California but will be moving to Florida soon while my husband leads a team cleaning up the oil spill. I pray that you are doing well and thank God for allowing me the chance to know you. P.S. Are you still smoking cigars? I still love the smell...In Christ's love, Donna.”
Right away, he responded. He shared that he had experienced a heart attack and triple bypass surgery just a few months prior. There was stillness in my soul that confirmed that our reunification was not about a little girl finding her long lost father. I was simply to communicate the peace I had found in surrendering my life to Jesus Christ. I spared no time in sharing my personal testimony with him. Each time, God instructed me on the best way to reach his heart.
One day, through an email to my father, I shared a song entitled, “He Knows My Name".  The gospel song speaks about our Heavenly Father and his personal design for each of His children.  About a week later, I received an email response from my biological father. He wrote, “You may want to know that the song you sent has some interesting qualities that I would not have expected.  Yesterday, after I listened to the song, I downloaded it to the company computer. Didn't really know why, but felt that it was important to do it. Later on in the day, after the owners and friends had been out on "cold calls" to different businesses and attempting to get people in the store, I listened to them complain about their frustrations and problems, as I usually do. But, I felt motivated from something outside of me to play the gospel hymn in the background while they rambled on about their problems. I wasn't really surprised when they calmed down and started being rational while they were listening to the music. Made for a pleasant and rewarding finish to the day.  Thanks for the tip about the hymn.” I thanked God for using me to reach my father’s heart in only a way He knew.
One day, we spoke about the harsh weather my best friend was experiencing a few states away from where he lived. I asked, “Is it snowing there too?” He very shockingly replied, “Snow? We haven’t seen snow in the last 20 years!” For a moment I felt embarrassed. However, while watching the weather channel later, I understood why I had asked about snow. Amazing! Snow was predicted for his home state and in record numbers. I began to chuckle and said, “Well Lord, if this doesn’t get his attention, nothing will.”
A few days later, I received another email from my biological father. “Well, I guess He is making His presence known in a way that can't be ignored,” my father wrote. “The forecast was for a light dusting of snow, but as you can see in the pictures, its not that light.  Haven't seen something like this in Texas in the last 20 years, and from what I understand from the weather reports, we are due for more of the same next week.  I realize that I am stubborn about some things, but I don't believe He needed to go to this extreme to make His presence known in my life. In view of what has happened over the last few months, the many changes, our connection, and the uncertain future, I can finally believe that I cannot do anything alone anymore.”
My greatest joy was being revealed! Could I be watching my biological father, an unsaved man being led to Christ? God continued to lead and I continued to follow. Soon after the snow incident, God allowed used me to share the power of prayer with my biological father. It happened one day when I blurted out for the first time that I was going to pray him. I had been pouring my heart out to God. “Please Lord, my biological father needs You. Please show him another majestic sign to make Yourself known.” The following week I received yet another email. “Dear Donna, You are praying too hard for me. So far this week I have had visits from the Baptists, the Jehovah Witness
Yet later, my biological father became unemployed and even homeless. And, in spite of all the signs and wonders, rather than surrender to Christ, he began to speak of a desire to remain loyal to what he called an “Infinite Spirit, a Great Spirit, Holy Spirit, God, Allah, or even ‘the force.” Just as sudden and unexpected as our new relationship had begun, God defined those boundaries and set me apart from my biological father yet again. When I professed my complete faith in Jesus Christ and said that He was the only way to salvation, my biological father stopped communicating with me altogether.
I felt the sting of his rejection. But this time, unlike when I was a child, I had a Savior to turn to. So, I gave God the burden on my heart. As I spoke to God, I said, “Lord, I have faith in what You are having me do and I will always choose You over anyone on this earth!” The pain I was experiencing disappeared. I realized I was no longer that little girl who longed for an earthly father.  I had found my father in Heaven and His love was more than enough!

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