Thursday, October 11, 2007

A Father's Heart

Please remember Jerrod Shelton in your prayers today. He is scheduled to have delicate, complicated, extremely intricate brain surgery today at 12 noon CST. The surgery will last 12 or 13 hours.

This is an excerpt from an e-mail I received from his Dad. He wrote this while sitting by his son's hospital bed. I love this family, and this is why.

"Let me begin by saying I know most of you know what an outstanding young man Jerrod is. But I want to help enlighten you just a bit. When someone is hurting Jerrod has always been very moved by that. When someone is left out, Jerrod wanted to include them. When someone is sad, Jerrod wants to encourage. When I have ever said I was going to do something to help someone it was Jerrod who always encouraged me to do more. Here's a big one... once in a while I would learn that someone had done something to hurt Jerrod's feelings, or was mean to him in some way. Or bullied him. I would ask, Jerrod who did that? His response was always the same... Daddy I don't want to tell you, because I don't want you to think less of them. You may think I am kidding, but it is the absolute truth. He always defended those who hurt him. He never wanted me to be angry at anyone for those things. He always said, "it's okay daddy, I can handle it."

I don't write that because I want anyone to feel badly, I write that because I want you to know what I am learning. I love Jerrod just because he is my son - and that's enough. But I love him with an intensity I can't describe because of who he is. (stay with me on this) I have always wanted to love Jesus more. I have a hard time with the images that have been portrayed in even the best Hollywood attempts. He is either portrayed as a man of no apparent emotion or a guy who just walks around with a silly grin on his face. Here's what I know now. Jesus was perfect so I know he was the one who included the one who was left out. He is the one who said, "Hey, man - come down from that tree. I want to go home with you and spend some time with you today." He was the one who took care of those who are sick. He is the one who defends those who hurt Him. He is the one who tells His Father, "Abba, Daddy, I don't want you to know it was jerry who hurt me, because I don't want you to think any less of him. I can handle it." You know, I have always kind of wondered how the gospel works. Yes, Jesus died for my sin. I know that. Yes, if I believe and love Jesus I have a home in Heaven. I believe that. But I always wondered why it works that way. Why isn't it some spiritual act I can do to get my card punched and get in. Why can't I just get a to do list from God and complete that for my entrance. Or how come it's not based on how many scriptures I can memorize or why isn't it that I have to learn algebra to be accepted. (Thank God that's not the case) So, what is it about this simple thing about loving Jesus? What's really up with that? Have you ever wondered that too? I am not exactly a rocket scientist so I'm won't be surprised if I'm the only one.

But I truly believe that is why we are so tempted to accept a works theology. Okay, I love analogies, so stay with me on this. I am in no way trying to place my self in any way on the same plane with God. But consider this. I have realized that I have an incredible feeling of love for each of you who are praying for Jerrod. If you love Jerrod and are praying for him... I love you. Case closed - that's it, that's all you have to do is love my son and pray for him and I love you. (see where I am on this) I don't care what you have done in the past. I don't care if you have hurt me, I don't care if you have hurt Jerrod in the past. I don't care if you have made many mistakes in your life... if you love my son and are praying for him, I love you. If you love my son, you have a place to stay in my home any time. If you love my son, I will defend you. If you love my son and pray for him you are my family. Do you see the beauty in that? Now I totally understand. Now I know why God wants us to come live with him if we will only believe in and love His son. Wow. And I can now see that Jesus is the kind of man I can easily love. He is the one who would have stood between me and the bullies who beat me up in 9th grade every day. He is the one who would have told people, "don't say that about him, I love him." He is the one who would have gently helped me when I struggled in school. He is the one who would sit with me and cry when I hurt. He is the one! He really is my best friend. I have said that all my life. We have so many "churchy" things to say about Jesus. We say these things until our language becomes a jargon the world laughs and doesn't understand. But now I know. Now I know what people need to know about the God we all love. "

2 comments:

SJ said...

I've been praying and am having our ladies bible class pray for him. Tell him that there are people even in MT that are praying for him.

Just remember...God's heart is heavy too.

Jen, Fred, Jennifer or Mom said...

Wow. Just WOW...