Working at K-House, it's easy to get caught up in the "busyness of ministry" and not take time to know what's going on in the lives of the people we work with. So, when I can, I make time to go around and fellowship. In one of my wanderings, I ran into our beloved James, who edits and produces all the tapes for K-House. His smile lit up the office and the glory of God was all over him. Naturally, my curiosity got the better of me so I asked him about the joy that was oozing from him. He sighed and said, "You're not going to believe what happened to me. Do you have a few minutes?" Of course, I made time to listen and marveled at the story of what the Lord had done in his life. It blessed me so much, I asked him if I could share it with you. To do justice to James's story, I'm going to break it into two parts. Part 1 will be James's background and Part 2 will be all the miracles God has done in his life recently. We both pray it will bless and, especially, encourage those of you who never knew the love of an earthly father.
The most gut-wrenching cry of loneliness came from a hill 2000 years ago when Jesus cried, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Mt 27:46). Never have words carried so much hurt. Never has one person been so alone. James asked this same question of his earthly father his whole life "My father, why have you forsaken me?" His desire for a father's love consumed him and brought great hurt, fear, depression and anxiety. Why did his father abandon and desert him? Why did his father not want him? Throughout his life, the scenario of his mother being beaten and sent to the doctor when she was pregnant with him had played over and over in his head.
Manuel, James's father, and Margaret, James's mother, grew up in the same neighborhood in St. Louis. They were in love and planned to marry. But at the age of eighteen, Manuel committed a robbery with his younger brother and a friend and was sent to three years of hard labor in the state penitentiary. Hurting and alone, Margaret married the first man who came along. But, because of abuse and neglect, the marriage didn't last. After three years, Manuel was released from prison and pursued Margaret, and during this time James was conceived. Penitentiary life had made Manuel hard and he became involved in various illegal activities. Because of this, Margaret left Manuel and moved in with her parents. James's grandparents were loving and stable, and he especially became attached to his grandmother. In fact, his earliest recollection was of his grandmother taking care of him.
Margaret married again, this time to a man she thought would love not only her but her son. But "Bud" wanted nothing to do with James. So, James lived with his grandparents until his little sister, Tracy, was born. Bud was consumed with his new precious little girl and all of his attention went to her, which caused a great deal of stress in their marriage and with James. Bud was capable of loving only one person at a time. Because the tension in the home became unbearable, James yearned to go back and live with his grandmother. Margaret was devastated and hurt by the way Bud treated James. So, she knew it was in his best interest to let him go back and live with his grandparents who, at least, lived in the same city.
When James was six, Margaret and Bud moved to California. Margaret had a very difficult time leaving James in St. Louis. She had a special bond with him and he was her reason for living. And so after four years of being separated, Margaret determined in her mind that she was going to find a job, move away and get her son back. She was tired of living this way. Bud "somehow" figured out that Margaret was planning on leaving, so he gave in and let James come to live with them when he was 10 years old. James longed for a father. A father who would love him, discipline him, and care about what happened to him. A man who would play baseball with him, take him fishing and someone to just be there for him. James was missing the father he never had. His real father didn't want him, Bud didn't want him and other men who had come in and out of his life didn't want him. Even though his mom tried to be both mother and father, it wasn't the same.
One of the saddest days in James's life was when his grandmother died in her sleep. This occurred six months after he moved to California and it threw James into deep depression. By this time, Margaret and James had been attending a small church close to where they lived. James accepted the Lord as his Savior at the age of 12 in that little church. But even though he was "born again," he still felt empty inside. Accepting, trusting, and relating to a Heavenly Father was very hard for him because he had been rejected by so many of his earthly fathers. Throughout his youth and teenage years, he believed John 3:16, but something was always missing. He was told that Jesus died for his sins, but James couldn't really understand why. At the age of 18, his mom, Bud and Tracy moved back to St. Louis. James stayed in California, where his loneliness became overwhelming. He started attending a Calvary Chapel where he learned about having a relationship with Jesus. The Lord began to melt his heart and God began to replace his hate with love for Bud. There were still many wounds, however, to be healed! Many years went by. James attended Bible College where he met his beautiful wife, Christiana. After six years of marriage, their precious daughter, Sierra, was born.
Bud was diagnosed with colon cancer that had spread to his liver. He accepted the Lord as his Savior and spoke of God very intimately. He had a miraculous recovery! But, over a period of time, the "old Bud" came back as life circumstances made him bitter and angry. Margaret wanted to get out of the marriage many times, but she obeyed God and He got her through. Next month we will see the many blessings she has received because of her obedience to God. James 1:12 says, "Blessed is the man that endureth temptation [trials]: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life."
Bud's cancer reappeared. The Lord in His mercy allowed Bud to get things right in his life before he died. When James and Christiana flew out to be with him, James had hoped that Bud would make one last attempt to be the dad that he always wanted, but it didn't happen. After Bud died, the hurt, anger and bitterness that had consumed James all came back because he had never really given the emotional wounds to the Lord! Once James recognized and acknowledged that he was still holding onto these things, he confessed and repented of them, and a miraculous healing process began. The choice to relinquish the negative feelings to God is ours; but the responsibility to change the feelings is God's. In order to be truly free of our past and be able to act out of God's Love, we must get rid of our ungodly thoughts and feelings the proper way: by allowing God to expose them, by looking squarely at them and calling them what they are, and then choosing to give these things back over to God and be rid of them forever (Ps 103:12). Because James chose to do these above steps, miracles started happening within him. (Next month we'll finish the story...)
King's High Way Manager