It was the summer before my sophomore year of high school when the worst call came, ten months after my dad had said, at my cousin's funeral, that nothing happens without God allowing it.
It was morning when I heard my mother's phone conversation and knew something terrible had happened to him. Alone in my bedroom, I dropped to my knees and cried.
My father had been murdered while away on business. My parents had been divorced for four years, and I hadn't been close to my dad since the age of six. That didn't diminish the blow of the news nor the impact it would have on me for the next two decades.
The tragedy of my dad haunted me for years. I suppressed it with heavy drinking in my late twenties and early thirties. Alcohol was a faithful companion.
One evening, I declared that time to be the last that I would cry about it. Like a prayer welling up from within, I heard myself proclaim freedom from the chains of misery and suffering that bound me.
I didn't know how freedom from grief and sorrow would come, and I was shocked at the declaration.
Following that evening, my heart began to heal. Months passed as I felt God nudging me to forgive the man who had murdered my father. After consideration and prayer, I decided to write to him. To my surprise, he responded.
Twenty years had passed, during which he prayed to seek forgiveness; though remorseful, he could not forgive himself. God was with me in the darkness in all the years of trudging through the valley.
I hope to someday meet this man and my dad at the table that welcomes all who humble themselves before the Lord, who accept His forgiveness and the everlasting life that only He provides.
I write this because God has done what I could not have done apart from him. He has set me free from the grief I experienced for so many years.
I am grateful that God has done in me what is impossible without him. He rewards those who trust and obey him. He wants us to be free. Whom the Son sets free is free indeed!
He gives beauty for ashes, oil of joy for mourning, and a garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.
He makes everything beautiful in its time. No one can fathom what He has done from beginning to end.
Jessica: United States