Finding peace despite injustice

FILE PHOTO
FILE PHOTO

Sitting in prison for a crime he says he did not commit, Don Wood could be overwhelmed by the weight of all the things that he has lost but he chooses to dwell on the very precious thing he has gained that can never be taken away from him.

Growing up "dirt poor" on a farm in South Georgia, Don knew abuse at the hands of his drunk father and escaped to the army at 17.

He spent 12 years in the military and fulfilled the American dream of his generation by gaining a degree, marrying, building his own home, and starting a successful business.

With the birth of his son Connor in 1995 Don felt that his life was complete.

"From his first breath, he and I shared a bond beyond anything I had ever known before," Don recalls. "I have never been more fascinated, in awe, or afraid of anything than I was of him; so tiny, so precious."

Unfortunately Connor was born with one leg very much shorter than the other and Don spent years trying to find treatment for him.

On one of these help-seeking trips, Don was listening to the radio and was struck when the announcer said, "Do you want to be the best dad you can be?" Of course he did!

Don listened to the programme, which spoke of "Jesus Christ, his relationship to God the Father and the church; using examples of godly men and fathers from the Bible, and how to use these principles to be a good father yourself."

It had a profound effect on Don. "There arose such a longing as I had never felt before. I started weeping, crying my heart out, and not knowing why."

Right there in Washington D.C. rush hour traffic, Don pulled over into the emergency lane of the freeway and cried out to God with all that was in him, begging Him for forgiveness for all that he had done wrong.

Then, "He came! Christ came! I felt peace and calm I never knew could exist," Don thrills.

Don was later tried and convicted for crimes in Florida, of which he says he is innocent, and has since lost his business, his home, his good name and his faith in the justice system. His wife divorced him and remarried and he has not heard from Connor since 2007.

"Every day I ask, Why? But I haven't had an answer yet," Don confesses.

However, he finds comfort in the Bible account of Jesus in Gethsemane, just before His crucifixion, 'sobbing in his loneliness and fear, crushed to the ground, pleading for a way out. And there was none.'

"I cling to that vision, that sweating, terrified, abandoned man. That's my King, my Lord, my God. Such courage as I have comes from the weeping of that broken man," Don says.

"Christ rose from the dead and has taken His seat at the right hand of the Father, but He knows. He knows loneliness, brokenness and despair. So He knows what I am going through and He stays here with me, so I won't have to be so lonely or afraid."

<< Remembering President Nixon’s right hand man
Lost cause finds new purpose >>