By Alex Anderson Senior Associate Pastor at Bayside Community Church –
The first time I met Mad Mack I was somewhat intimidated by him. He looked to me like he had either just left a fight or was getting ready to have one. He tended to be red-faced and he cursed a lot. He was very animated and waved his hands in the air especially when he would curse. He also yelled at people when he talked on the telephone. In his defense, he had survived significant hearing loss in both ears, but most people didn’t know that. To them he seemed mad all the time, which is how he got the name “Mad Mack.” My time of knowing and interacting with Mad Mack lasted about a year.
This is going to be painful
One Sunday morning, I was greeting at the front door of our church. Ted and his wife came walking across the parking lot with another couple I did not recognize. This wasn’t unusual considering the number of new people Ted had been inviting to church. When they arrived at the front door I recognized the man. It was Mad Mack. I thought to myself, “This is going to be painful.”
To be perfectly honest, I was not very excited about seeing Mack. Ted reached over and tapped me on the shoulder while I was talking to another person, and as I turned around my eyes met Mad Mack’s. I was totally shocked. His crystal blue eyes were full of sweet compassion. I could instantly tell that Mad Mack was a different man. He didn’t look mad any more, and I would later repent of my attitude.
Mack had gone through a horrible divorce that had, in his words, “stripped him” of his self-worth. It was after the crushing blow of his divorce that he began to search for the God of his childhood. He said he had “nothing to lose in trying God out again.” God answered his prayer, and his heart became soft again.
After getting back up-close and personal with Jesus Christ, tremendous blessings began to take place in Mack’s life. He met Julia, who was a Christ-follower, and they were shortly married. Her encouragement helped him start his own company, which was “off the chain” successful.
The Son of Mad Mack
Most of Mack’s life was very blessed as he surrendered one part of his life at a time to God. However, one part of Mack’s life was not as he or God wanted it.
Mack’s son from his previous marriage did not like his father. Mack wanted passionately to live life with his son, but Phillip wanted no part of it. Cursing him right to his face for destroying his life, Phillip told Mack he would never forgive him for what he did to his mom. The old Mack had never spent much time at home. In Mack’s words, “Hell, I spent most of my time working to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads.” Mack now took total responsibility for his former failures as a husband, and as a father.
When our hearts are supercharged by the love of Christ, our prayers become for those we love. One Sunday after church service Mack said to me with tears in his eyes, “I want you to pray for Phillip to become a Christ-follower. He wouldn’t listen to me because I’ve been a terrible dad.”
So we prayed. “Father in Heaven, we thank you for sending your son Jesus to die for and save Phillip. Satan, we claim Phillip for the kingdom of God in Jesus’ name. Father, we ask you to bring someone across Phillip’s path that he will listen to so that he may become a Christ-follower. Thank you, Father in Heaven. In Jesus’ name, Amen!”
Mack asked, “Now what?” I said, “God heard our prayer and we need to let Him work on it. Now we thank Him for the answer.” Mack asked, “How long?” I said, “Until we see the answer.” Mack dropped his head. He was not as convinced.
The rest of the story
A few months later, a young man visited our church for many weeks. Ryan became a Christ-follower and was passionate that his close friends get the same chance. After a few months, Ryan’s best friend came to church and became a Christ-follower. Ryan’s best friend was Phillip, Mack’s son. Around 11 months after that first prayer, God answered Mack’s prayer. Mad Mack became smiling Mack. He smiled so much it would make your cheeks hurt.
Their relationship was restored. Phillip went back to college and eventually became a missionary. He is married and has a fantastic ministry and “Smiling Mack” is his biggest financial supporter.
Fathers, never…never…never…give up!
No matter what you have done, pray for your children and remember,
Be Life Giving!
Alex Anderson is a Senior Associate Pastor at Bayside Community Church, Bradenton, Florida.
To read other life-giving articles by Pastor Alex, go to http://belifegiving.blogspot.com.