Explore
Follow Us

Confronting the father who abandoned you

A young man I’ll call Dave was a member of the mission team I led to Swaziland in 2004. One day he stood in front of his classroom in Swaziland. Before speaking, he said, “I’m going to tell you a story from my life. If you can identify with my story, please stand up beside your desk.” Dave began…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

A young man I’ll call Dave was a member of the mission team I led to Swaziland in 2004. One day he stood in front of his classroom in Swaziland. Before speaking, he said, “I’m going to tell you a story from my life. If you can identify with my story, please stand up beside your desk.”

Dave began his story, “I grew up in a home without a father,” he said. “My dad had abandoned us when I was young. When I was 16, I decided that I wanted to try to find him. I’d heard that he’d moved to a city about six hours away. So I went to that city, found out where he lived, and then went to his house. My heart was pounding as I came to the door. Here was the man who I’d thought so much about. What would he say to me?”

As Dave recounted the story to the classroom full of Swazi students whom he didn’t know, he felt the same heart-pounding sensation. How would they respond?

“I stood there at the door and then it opened and there was my father,” Dave said. “I said to him, ‘I’m your son Dave, I’ve been wanting to meet you, so I came looking for you.’

What my father said shocked me: ‘You shouldn’t have come here. You’re no son to me. Go away – I don’t ever want to see you again.'”

Standing at the front of the Swazi classroom, his head down, Dave’s voice lowered and choked with emotion, “I didn’t know what to say then and I still don’t; if ever I’d felt abandoned before, this was worse.”

As he finished in awkward silence, Dave looked up and around the room at the Swazi students, who, one by one, stood to their feet, tears pouring down their cheeks. Each of them had felt abandoned and most had never been allowed to talk about it.

But Dave’s bold sharing of his brokenness had allowed them to access their pain. Dave had learned the secret of 2 Cor. 12:9-10 : “My power is made perfect in weakness. When I am weak then I am strong.” Dave’s point of greatest ministry came in sharing his weakness.

In the midst of a vast sea of pain, if there is to be hope for Swaziland, and for all of us who have experienced the abuse of a father, it lies in the brave hearts of people like Dave who use their wounding as a weapon against evil.

Comments (2)

Comments are closed.

Subscribe to Radical Living:

Receive updates on the latest posts as Seth Barnes covers many topics like spiritual formation, what if means to be a christian, how to pray, and more. Radical Living blog is all about a call to excellence in ministry, church, and leadership -as the hands and feet of Jesus.

Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



© Adventures In Missions. All rights reserved. | Privacy Policy | RSS Feed | Sitemap