WHEN I WAS THIRTEEN years of age, my Aunt Virginia lost her three-year-old son Patrick in a tragic accident. She and my Uncle Mickey were renting an apartment where the water heater was not working properly. The water coming out of the hot water faucet was barely lukewarm, so for a few days she added a bucket of water she had boiled on the stove to Patricks bath. On the night of tragedy, she turned the hot water faucet on, not knowing that the water heater had been fixed, and then added a bucket of boiling water. She called for Patrick to come and get his bath. He ran in, jumped in the tub filled with scalding hot water and was burned from his neck down. They rushed Patrick to the hospital. A few days later, he got pneumonia. His little body could not take the stress and he died.
At the funeral, I got angry at a God I did not know and did not want to know. For the next fourteen years I ran as far away from God as I could. I wanted nothing to do with a God who caused this much pain and suffering to the ones I loved. My uncle also turned away from God and to this day claims to be an atheist. On the other hand, my aunt ran toward God, sought his comfort, and committed her life to Christ. She was the first person on either side of our family who knew God. Through her witness and testimony, God has called four of us into pastoral ministry and thousands of lives have been impacted for the cause of Christ.
When I get to heaven, I want to kneel before my King and thank him that he loved me, even in the midst of my rebellion. His extreme love led him to pay the ultimate price on the cross so I could spend eternity with him.
Father, I pray for all those who are far from you. Build a bridge for them with your extreme love into a personal relationship with you that you created through your sacrificial death on the cross. Help us to share the hope we have with all those you place in our paths.
-Harold Ferraro, Senior Pastor, New Beginnings Church of God, Meadville, Pennsylvania