Religion

A father’s heartbreaking love for a child

My wife and I are addicted to “Dateline” and “48 Hours Mystery” on NBC and CBS respectively. The latter deals exclusively with murders, and like a “House” episode, the plot is always the same. Perfect-looking family, wife/husband kills, the spouse denies it, goes to court, is found guilty and later files for an appeal. Usually we can watch these shows and keep an emotional distance.

Monday night’s recorded “Dateline” was an exception to the rule, even though it actually did not involve murder. David Goldman, a male model — though nothing like Derek Zoolander — and wife Bruna seemed to have a fairytale-esque marriage and family.

Bruna took their 4-year-old son to Brazil for a vacation with her parents. It turned into a kidnapping as she intended to never come back. And she remained true to her intentions until she died several years later following complications in childbirth.

Unfortunately the Brazilian court system doesn’t operate on common sense or the International Hague Convention kidnapping standards, and the child was not reunited with his father. Yet earlier this week, more than four years after the abduction, the Brazilian court system finally arranged/forced the brief and temporary father-son reunion. A small step in the right direction.

Sometimes these “Dateline” specials end happily (“48 Hours Mystery” obviously never does). But Amy and I kept waiting. And waiting, for the next commercial break to bring us some good news. It never did.

Since I’m a dad now, I can’t imagine someone taking my son away from me and not letting me see him for four years. I can’t imagine going to Brazil nearly a dozen times, unsuccessfully, doing everything by the book, and still not even being able to see my son. Hopeless doesn’t describe the situation well enough.

But I’ll never forget his answer to Meredith Viera’s question: “Do you think you’ll ever get to bring your son home? Will you ever call it quits?”

His answer was as plain as vanilla ice cream. Without even a thought David Goldman said, “Never. I won’t stop until I bring him home.” Then I thought. That’s the kind of pursuing, painstaking, persevering love Christians boast God has for His children. My prayer is that David would not only bring his son back home, but that he would identify with an even more heartbreaking and costly Fatherly love.

Geoff Henderson, associate pastor of Hope Presbyterian Church, 4455 30th St. E., Bradenton, can be reached at (941) 727-3408. Faith Matters is a regular feature of Saturday’s Herald.

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