Episode #313 — 51 years. That was the sentence likely facing Marcus Clapper. 51 years in prison for his work in the trade that had made him a wealthy man with a life so many envied – illegal drugs.

As Marcus grappled with the news and how it would change everything, he couldn’t stop thinking about making a phone call. So, on that Father’s Day, he made a call that would change his life, transform his broken relationship with his father, and eventually lead to a rekindled faith in Jesus.

“My parents had no idea what I was involved in, the life I was living. My relationship with my dad was so bad at that point we had not talked in months, and – after the last time we had spoken – I never wanted to speak to him again. So when my wife Michelle told me I was facing 51 years in prison, I asked her if she would call my parents and tell them where I was, and ask if they would take a collect call from me.”

“The first thing that came out of my mouth was, ‘If you don’t start loving me as a father who loves his son unconditionally, for the first time in your life, then I don’t want to ever talk to you again.’ I don’t know who I thought I was, or why I thought I had that ability to make that ultimatum to my dad. But those are the words that came out of my mouth. I think I was just so tired of all the pain, the bitterness, anger, and the judgement that my dad and I had towards each other, that’s all I could think to say. I need your love right now. I don’t need your judgment. I don’t need your anger. I just needed a dad. I needed a dad just to hold me, tell me that it was going to be ok and that and that he loved me – the words I had honestly never heard from my dad.”

In the wake of the deep emotion of the moment came a transformational response.

“The amazing part of it was that my dad’s response was not firing back with anger, judgment,  or bitterness. He said, ‘I will. I will stand by you no matter what.’ And that’s what he did, and – as I look back on my life – I am 21 years removed now from that phone call and the amazing thing about this story is that God used that pain and that moment and everything that led up to that phone call. He used that 21 years later by allowing me to be able to share that with others – to be able to show others that this pain they’ve gone through is forgivable. That they are lovable no matter what.”

Marcus Clapper authors the riveting new book The Love of a Father and the Journey of His Prodigal Son.

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On the Road with Marcus Clapper