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Older Man Becomes 'Dad' to Father-abandoned Man

At a men's retreat, a group of 30-40 men of all ages sat in a room sharing joys and deep aches of the soul. A young man named Jason sat in his chair, his face buried in his hand, his head occasionally rising to gasp a breath as he sobbed, Why didn't he want me? I don't understand why my dad didn't want me. Why didn't he want me, man? What's wrong with me?" None of the other men in the room had the answer to his question. But most of us knew the problem: young Jason was crying out for the acceptance and affirmation of his father. He was saying, "Am I such a defect that I am unlovable as a son and as a man?"

What happened next was absolutely beautiful and unscripted. Phil, an older man in the group, got out of his seat and walked straight over to Jason. He embraced him and in a loud voice said to him, "Jason, I'll be your dad and you're my son!"

From that day forward, Phil was involved in Jason's life as a surrogate father. Their relationship with one another deepened as the years passed. Although Phil didn't pay for Jason's college tuition or his room and board, he was present to pray with Jason, take him to lunch, listen to his struggles, and share his life wisdom with him. During one of my last conversations with Phil before he died, we talked about his relationship with Jason. At one point, he lifted his head and with a passionate conviction and said, "You know Jason is my son!" I nodded in the affirmative and said, "I know."

Phil became a tangible expression of our Heavenly Father's love for a young man who felt unwanted and unworthy of his natural father's love.

Possible Preaching Angle: Although this story is about two men, the principle of becoming a "father" to a lost "son" applies to a woman becoming a "mother" to a lost "daughter." This is what we should do for each other in the body of Christ.

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