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Woodson Armes was pastor of Polytechnic Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas during my seminary years. At a seminary chapel service he told this story from his growing up as a teenager in rural Texas.

“As a teenager growing up I really gave my parents a lot of grief. On one particular occasion I had really messed up pretty bad. Dad called me in and told me that, in the light of my bad behavior, he and mom had decided to ground me which meant missing the big high-school Jr.-Sr. banquet.

I said, “OK, Dad, if that’s the way it is, I guess I’ll just leave home. Dad’s response was: “Well, go if you must, but wait until Saturday.”

Armes said, “It was hard to find something to do to make the time pass. Saturday morning I went out and got on the tractor and did some plowing in the field across from the road. As I plowed back and forth in front of the house, I couldn’t help but see my mother out on the front porch with her broom, sweeping the same spot over and over, as she glanced up to watch me as I plowed. And then I noticed that Dad had decided to do some pruning on a tree out back that really didn’t need pruning, glancing my direction as he appeared to be totally occupied with his pruning.

He said, “That afternoon I went out to the barn and began greasing the tractor, just to get out of a very quiet house. Then I looked up and a crack appeared in the barn door. It was Dad. He came to me, put his arm on my shoulder and said, ‘I just want you to know son, in every set of circumstances, wherever you go, or whatever you do, I will still be your father, and I will still love you.’

“From that day forward,” Armes said, “there was never another cross word or misunderstanding between me and my father.” From then on he knew that whatever happened in life his father’s love would always be there for him and it made all the difference.

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