A Dying Father's Lesson on Forgiveness
By Shannon Woodland
The 700 Club
CBN.com -Derrick Wright doesn’t just play the drums for a living… it’s in his DNA. As the son of the late Reverend Timothy Wright, who’s known to many as the godfather of gospel music, Derrick was destined to be a musician. He was only twelve when he made his drumming debut playing in his father’s band. Derrick says, “They weren’t expecting that from a twelve-year-old kid.”
Over the years, he honed his craft and became an A-list drummer for artists like Toni Braxton, Alisha Keys and others. In 2006, he landed a gig as music director for the famed artist Adele. Still Derrick doesn’t allow himself to get caught up in the trappings of show biz. Instead, he says drumming is a way to connect with God.
“I can sit at the drums and it’s almost like going in your prayer closet and that’s your place of comfort and you can go to God in prayer right there.” Derrick explains. “Sometimes I sit there on the drums, put my head down and pray before I play. It’s just a good feeling that you get and you feel like God has your back.”
His family life is centered on God too. He married his high school sweetheart, Michelle, and they have two kids with one on the way. Derrick remarks, “She’s not with me because of the glitz and glamour. She doesn’t care about that. Sometimes she lets me know that she doesn’t care about that. She has my back and sometimes she prays with me, just covering me, too. I love her for that.”
Derrick says most of his life went pretty smoothly, until July 4, 2008. His brother called and told him their father, mother and 14-year-old nephew had been hit by a drunk driver. He also told him, their mother had died at the scene. “Next thing I know I’m speeding down the highway and trying to get there and see if this is true because I’m not believing it. My wife grabs my hand and starts praying with me.”
Derrick’s nephew died a day later. His father was in critical condition. Derrick started to burn with anger. “’How can God do this to us?’” questioned Derrick. “My little nephew was only 14 years old. ‘How can that happen?’”
Derrick sat at his father’s bedside for months and listened to his father sing. His dad also talked about forgiving the person responsible. But Derrick couldn’t understand why his father would forgive someone who killed their family. “The forgiveness, that made me, ‘Wow, whoa, you sit in your deathbed right now and forgive this person that did this?’”
Derrick started having long talks with God. He often thought about his father’s example of forgiveness. “Just seeing how he can be in his situation and he still forgave and I was like, ‘Wow, that’s the man that I want to be like. I want to be able to forgive. I want to be able to love and forgive, just like this man, like my father.’”
In time, Derrick was able to follow his father’s example. “I honestly can say I forgive the guy. The young man who was driving drunk on the wrong side of the road, I forgive him.”
Seven months later his father passed away. By then Derrick had made his peace with God. “God was doing that for me, so that he could turn certain things around in my life.”
Now Derrick was more focused on sharing God’s love with others and decided to produce a gospel album that would do just that. The album is called Driven. “It seemed like I had a push to do it, and I called it Driven, because there was something driving me to do it.”
Derrick also continues his father’s music legacy in New York. He works with young people at a church in Brooklyn, where he encourages them through music. And across town he directs a 300 voice choir at his father’s former church.
Derrick says, “My goal is not to be a household name for me but that everybody can know God. I want to show them that God is good, that He can save and He can heal, and He can forgive and He can get you to forgive with anything that you went through. Jesus is the answer. He always was and He always will be.”
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