All the boy had known growing up in a slum neighborhood was pain. At the age of 7, he was got a beating by his alcoholic father (who ordered him to NEVER cry!) which left him too bloody to crawl...because he cried over the death of his mother. His father shortly set up housekeeping with a prostitute who practiced her trade in the home. By the age of 10, he was an accomplished thief and a hard drinker. At twelve, he murdered a woman as he took her money. Juvenile prison and reform school didn't work; punishment only made him sneer. To help turn his life around, it took the consistent nurture of a Christian couple and, later, a friend who invited him to a Christian youth rally. In his book, Too Tough To Cry, he tells about the night his screams of anger at God were met with unconditional love:
At that instant, all of the hurt and pain of thirteen years that had been held inside welled up in my throat. "Oh, God, no, I'm going to cry...I'm going to cry...but real men don't cry."
I couldn't hold it in any longer. I fell to the floor and began to cry. I wept and wept and continued to weep.. It was like a dam had burst inside, and the tears poured out of me. I kept moaning, "Forgive me, forgive me..."
Today Paul Powers is a pastor who ministers especially to children. He is married to Margaret Fishback Powers, creator of the famous "Footprints" poem.
Does the horror of an abusive or bitter past have a choke-hold on your heart? Do you feel incapable of loving or reaching out for help? Jesus is the only One who can heal that kind of crushing hurt and restore positive emotions! [from Enter His Gates 1998 devotional book by Charles Stanley, page 277]