What we need is nothing short of a miracle. The current condition of the American family is dire. The culture is a verifiable mess. The hope for our future diminishes daily. Yet, the prospect for change, real change, is here. I refuse to give up hope for a reformation of the American family and father. Why? Because of what happened in the lives of my parents, Harry and Sue Litton.
They were married in 1956, and it did not take long for them to realize that their marriage was in trouble, primarily due to my father’s alcoholism. Two boys and a mortgage simply added pressure to the inevitable explosion that took place ten years later. Their marriage was on the rocks, my father’s drinking was out of control and the Litton family was soon to become a statistic.
My father had been on an extended drinking binge. My mother escaped
with my brother and I in tow. Armed with a new perspective, she planned
to leave my father and start a new life. We went home to get our
things and the plan was to leave him and head for California. We found my father lying beneath a bed in our guest room. He had been on a drinking binge that had lasted several weeks and was close to death. He whispered a simple request for us to take him to a man who offered him hope in Jesus Christ. The man's name was Charlie Jones, the pastor of Kempsville Baptist Church in Virginia Beach. In that pastor's office we watched a man slowly get on his knees and invite Jesus Christ into his heart. He stood up sober, new and changed. The dramatic change became increasingly apparent as each new day dawned. He was a new man.
As a pastor I am cautious not to build up false hope in hurting people.
However, I must tell you that what happened to us was neither simple nor easy, but it was revolutionary and it saved us. Not every person who struggles with substance abuse has the same experience, but Harry Litton certainly did. God changed his heart, his desires and his mind. His appetite for God's Word was ravenous. He grew and became a father to his sons.
This week we celebrated the 50th Wedding Anniversary of my father and mother. In the presence of good friends, we took time to thank
God for saving the Litton family. We also thanked Him for the years of
ministry my parents have had loving and leading people to Jesus. The
salvation of one solitary man has had a tremendous impact on our
family, as well as countless other lives touched by my father and
mother. I am grateful for the change that God made in one man's life.
I am also grateful for the hope that if one man changes, a family can
be saved and a community can be transformed and a nation can be
revived. It happens one man at a time.