by Lee Strobel
“[God] waits to be wanted. Too bad that with many of us He waits so long, so very long, in vain.” – A.W. Tozer
He was leaning back in his leather recliner in the wood-paneled den, his eyes darting back and forth between the television set and me, as if he didn’t deign to devote his full attention to our confrontation. In staccato bursts, he would lecture and scold and shout, but his eyes never met mine.
It was the evening before my high school graduation, and my dad had caught me lying to him – big-time.
Finally, he snapped his chair forward and shifted to look fully into my face, his eyes angry slits behind his glasses. He held up his left hand, waving his pinky like a taunt as he pounded each and every word: “I don’t have enough love for you to fill my little finger.”
He paused as the words smoldered. He was probably expecting me to fight back, to defend myself, to blubber or apologize or give in – at least to react in some way. But all I could do was to glare at him, my face flushed. Then after a few tense moments he sighed deeply, reclined again in his chair and resumed watching TV.
That’s when I turned my back on my father and strode toward the door. I didn’t need him. I was brash, I was driven and ambitious – I would slice my way through the world without his help. After all, I was about to make almost a hundred dollars a week at a summer job as a reporter for a rural newspaper in Woodstock, Illinois, and live on my own at a boarding house.
A plan formulated in my mind as I slammed the back door and began the trek toward the train station, lugging the duffel bag I had hurriedly packed. I would ask the newspaper to keep me on after the summer. Lots of reporters have succeeded without college, so why not me? Soon I’d make a name for myself. I’d impress the editors at the Chicago papers and eventually break into the big city. I’d ask my girlfriend to move in with me. I was determined to make it on my own – and never to go back home.
Someday, there would be payback. The day would come when my father would unfold the Chicago Tribune and his eye would catch my by-line on a front-page exclusive. That would show him.
I was on a mission – and it was fueled by rage. But what I didn’t realize as I marched down the gravel shoulder of the highway on that sultry June evening was that I was actually launching a far different quest than what I had supposed. It was a journey that I couldn’t understand back then – and which would one day reshape my life in ways I never could have imagined.
That day I embarked on a life-long pursuit of grace…
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