If you live in our beautiful little village of Freeburg, you may read the newspaper, The Freeburg Tribune. The following column appears in the Tribune each week. I will try to post my column every week....just in case you are not one of the Tribune's faithful readers:
I Love You This Much
I have to relate a story I heard on the radio. It just fits
He didn’t know his father. There was a distant memory of shouting and pain and misery. That was a shadow.
His life had been a shadow ever since. He dodged in and out of the darkness, hiding. He lived in the shadow of drug addiction, trying to find something to fill the emptiness.
He lied. He stole. He destroyed….until he was caught.
He spent several years in prison, drawing his loneliness and bitterness around him like an impenetrable cloak. He kept to himself. He was still empty when they freed him.
His life, his home, even his country, seemed strange to him. He decided to travel to fill an emptiness he really did not know how to fill.
He ended up in a village in Africa, among a simple people. He was introduced to a tribal family and was invited to stay the night in their hut, sleeping on a mat.
As he lay his head wearily on the mat, he noticed the father of the native family squatting by his bed, watching him.
“What are you doing?” he asked the man.
“You have come here alone,” the native father said. “You have no wife or family with you. It is my duty to watch you as you sleep, to let you know you are not alone.”
The young man did not know what to do. He really could do nothing, but fall asleep.
As he drifted off, he suddenly sensed something. The native father gently placed his hand on the young man’s shoulder.
In that moment of tenderness, tears welled in the young man’s eyes. Suddenly, the violence, the depravity, the emptiness of his life came flowing to the surface. All he wanted to do was to ask for forgiveness.
The love of the father brought him to this point. For the first time in his life, he felt at peace.
Long ago, another Father reached down and placed a hand upon the shoulder of mankind.
“I love you this much,” He said as He struggled to pay a debt that His children could not pay. Through it all, His hand never left our shoulder.
Some of us shrug off this loving hand, refusing to look at the things we’ve done wrong, seeking to live our lives alone with our impenetrable cloak drawn about us.
But the hand is still there. The love is still there.
My prayer is that you feel this love. My prayer is that you let the Father touch you. My prayer is that you let God fill your empty places.
May you feel God’s hand resting on your shoulder as you let Him take control of your life.