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A powerful story of respect between a father and daughter and her simple prayer that transformed their lives from The White House to the World.
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There was a tug of war in my heart, and it was splitting me apart. I was torn between my earthly father, who had lovingly held me in his arms and clapped when I took my first steps, and my heavenly Father, who had formed me in my mother’s womb, knew me better than I knew myself and had prepared the best-made plan for my life. It was no contest. I knew I must follow the leading of my heavenly Father. But it isn’t easy saying no to a father who has advised presidents and who seems to know it all.
As a young girl I had hung photographs and magazine and newspaper clippings of the models I emulated on my bedroom wall. I was such a typical child, and my dreams were much like any normal American girl. As I matured in my faith, those pictures and clippings would fade and one day be replaced with mental photographs of people such as Martha Myers, Bill Koehn and Kathy Gariety. . . In a day in which heroes are usually movie stars, rock stars and athletes, these missionaries rise far above the rest. I have come a long way since my youth. It is part of the change the Holy Spirit makes in our lives when we open up the chambers of our hearts to Him.
About the Family
My father had come to realize that for the noble cause of God and country, he had practically deserted his family. During those years of political service, he had thought he was doing the right thing by serving the most important man in the world. Now, as he compared the husband and father he had been to what the Bible said he should be, he knew he had fallen short. With tears in his eyes, my father recounted the many mistakes he had made, including not being home much and not being the spiritual leader of his own family. For these reasons and many more, he made a formal apology to all of us. “I promise to do better by my family,” he said. “I only ask for your forgiveness and for you to give me a second chance as your dad.”
My father had once believed that his greatest day was the one on which he raised his right hand to recite and commit to the oath of office as Special Counsel to the president of the United States. He was to find out that his greatest days came after he surrendered his life to Jesus Christ. . . His greatest accomplishments can be seen in his children and grandchildren—his posterity, and his ministry helping the country of Romania in its recovery from Communism.
We must never lose what made us the most powerful and envied nation in the world. We must never stop being a “beacon on the hill.” While the stand for freedom must begin with each of us individually, one alone is not enough. All freedom lovers must stand together.
Dr. Josef Tson, president of the Romanian Missionary Society (RMS) at the time of the revolution, was a Romanian pastor who had been beaten and finally exiled to the USA. Tson said, “The Communists promised heaven on earth, but they produced hell on earth. Communism looks great––but it tastes horrible.” He contends that we in the West are falling for the delusion of Communism and slowly moving toward it.
Even though my father was a freedom fighter from his earliest days, the face of his efforts changed over the years: As noble as his intentions were, the freedom he was fighting for was external and temporal. He later found that true, lasting freedom only comes when we surrender our lives to Jesus, who is preeminent above all things, and at that point he began to fight spiritually. That gradual process toward true freedom continues, for all who will receive it, through the power of the Holy Spirit until the day the Lord calls us home. Our freedom is to be used for His glory, not our own. When we graduate to heaven, the transformation will be complete. “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free” (Gal. 5:1).
God’s Eternal Perspective – Forever
Formerly our “big-picture man” in politics, Harry Dent was now reading and ravaging every Christian book and commentary he could put his hands on so he could understand the big picture of the Bible. It was just part of the way God had designed him. It was as if he was starving to digest everything about God and His purpose and His ways.
As a family we made it through the long dark tunnel together. Through the tears and the stabbing pain, we made it. And to this day, none of us has ever forgotten what the Lord did for my father. No matter what the hurt or pain, we must never forget what God has done for us.
Remember that this world as we know it is not our home. Heaven is our home. While you live on earth, you’re only a pilgrim. A theocracy is the best form of government, and I am enjoying it now. There is nothing like it on earth. You are seeing so many things crumbling around you, but do not be afraid. Never forget you are part of an everlasting kingdom that will never crumble, a kingdom that will never end. As the Bible says in the book of Revelation, there will be a new heaven and a new earth. Words cannot describe what true spiritual freedom and life eternal in the presence of God are like. I only thought I was free in America. Here, I am bound by nothing—I have total bliss, total freedom, total worship, total harmony.
Two years earlier, the Dents had been on top of the world. Now, at eighteen years old, I was stripped of all my heroes. A president was leaving office, a nation was limping, and the days ahead were about to test more than the guilty.
What had Watergate taught us? In the broadest sense, it brought home in many ways that no one is above the law: no woman, no man and no president.
The final lesson of Watergate is that Americans can do no less than hold high officials to high standards—and the same goes for media. Unless “righteousness” and “truth” are a package deal, one can’t uphold the system of checks and balances that is vital to a free society. Today’s descendants of the media sentinels who labored away undoing the Watergate deception must scrutinize every administration (Democrat or Republican), or else they give up the high standards we stand for.
The Power of Prayer
The words I prayed for my father—my actual plea—turned on desperate love, as does the story in this book. Because of my growing faith, I would end up throwing off the plans my father had for me—not because I didn’t love him but because my love for him overwhelmed me. You have to know that in order to understand why I went to God so often with this longing that permeated every prayer. I bargained for the person I loved most by offering God the thing I feared most. It was a simple but powerful prayer: “If you will bring my father to know You,” I told God, “then when he has to die, I’ll let him go. The pain will be unbearable to me, but I won’t be resentful or angry.” I would carry my promise to God close to my heart through the years to come.
I am grateful and thankful the Lord answered my prayer. Not only did He answer it, but He went way beyond that little girl’s prayer. I never dreamed my father would give up his legal and political career and enter full-time Christian ministry with my mother at forty-eight years of age. I never dreamed he would attend the one place he had forbidden me to go, CIU, and come to love it as he did. I never dreamed he would attain the award of alumni of the year or ask to have his memorial service here in this special place. I never dreamed he would minister all over the world, especially in the country of Romania. I think the thing he feared the most when I went to CIU was that I might become something gosh-awful like a missionary. What he didn’t know was that the Lord would use him to be a missionary to many people.
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