“On the first anniversary of my dad’s death, the grief of losing him hit me like a sledgehammer. He’d been killed by a careless trucker who’d fallen asleep at the wheel, and for the past 12 months, I’d loathed that man for taking my beloved father away from me. Daddy had always said forgiveness is the only way to find peace, and he often quoted Matthew 18:22: Forgive not just seven times, but seventy-seven times.
“Yet now, as I faced the deepest rage of my life, I wondered if God’s expectations were too high. How could I not hate the man who had destroyed my world? ‘I can’t forgive him, Dad,’ I uttered one night as I tried to fall asleep, my jaw clenched. ‘Nobody should be forgiven for stealing you from me. Maybe I’m just not strong enough to do what God asks of me.’
“That night, I slept fitfully. When I opened my eyes, I noticed the numbers on my alarm clock impossibly blinking 7:77. Not seven times, but seventy-seven times. Tears stung my eyes as my father’s words flashed through my mind. Suddenly, I felt God’s presence and a sense of strength that I knew would make the impossible possible.
“In that moment, I realized that what I lacked in the ability to forgive, God provided, because when I am weak, He is strong. Awed, I gazed at the neon numbers again, drew a breath and prayed to forgive. A blessed peace took hold as the burden of hatred fell away. ‘Thanks, Dad,’ I whispered into the darkness as the clock returned to normal.”
—Megan Stowe, 61, Baltimore