When Carl Parks learned about the loss of his son, the first words out of his mouth were,
“God, you have to make something good out of this. You have to.”
The crushing weight of grief and shock seemed like more than he could bear. But he remembered the hard and painful losses he had endured earlier in his life – divorce, death and addiction. He lost his father at age 8, his mother at 18,, at which point he was addicted to drugs and alcohol. But God had transformed his life.
“I look back on my life and I see the bad and God has made good on it. He’s taken the things that I grew up with that were bad, and now I’m a good husband and a good father. I’m not on that path of destruction. He saved me from all of that and gave me a new heart and new desires.”
He had seen how God had “worked all things together for good.” And it was his heart’s cry that somehow, God would do this in the tragic loss of his son, C.J.
One thing Carl knew right away is that they wanted the friends and family who would attend C.J.’s funeral, to hear the message of God’s love for them.
“I always thought when I die, I want the Gospel to be shared, and I want an invitation, because I think that’s what would be honoring to God. He would want more people to come to Him. And when people die, everyone realizes that they are mortal, especially when your 18 year old boy is killed in a car wreck. You just know something good has to come out of this.”
Carl did share the Gospel at C.J.’s funeral, and he asked if anyone wanted to give their life to Jesus that day, and be baptized. Carl says he looked out at the crowd of 500, and saw 5 or 6 hands. He was so grateful.
“Even if it had only been one person, it would have been worth it. “
After the graveside services, Carl and his family returned to the church and offered to baptize anyone who wanted to take the step that day. They were shocked. The response was so dramatic that it made the local news. 34 people responded to the Gospel invitation and were baptized that day. Since then, more people have heard C.J.’s story, and were inspired to take a step of faith and be baptized.
Carl Parks - Making something good
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28