Tom Davis: Finding the Father Heart of God
By Audra Smith
The 700 Club
Colorado Springs, Co “My earliest memories as a little boy was that my father was never around. I knew I had a dad, but I never saw him. I never talked to him. I had absolutely no recollection of him.”
Tom Davis’s father deserted the family when Tom was only a toddler. He hoped his new stepfather would be the kind of daddy he always wanted.
"My mother remarried when I was six years old. I remember that I was excited, because I was so longing for a father in my life. It wasn’t long after they married that we started to realize that this was going to be a difficult marriage. My stepfather was an alcoholic,” Tom tells The 700 Club. “My whole idea of a father switched from someone who was never around to this violent alcoholic person that you had to walk on pins and needles. Anything you might do would set him off.”
Tom found a source of stability in his grandparents. They often talked to him about God and took him to church. He says, “I remember this one service, and they [said], ‘You know, Tommy, you have a father in Heaven who really loves you.’ The whole concept of a father was really difficult, because the only idea I had of a father was two things: a person who was never there and now one who was physically abusive. At [another] service, I remember having an altar call. I walked up to the front of the aisle of that Baptist church and gave my life to Jesus. It was the first time that God’s father heart was revealed to me as a little boy. He was real. He did love me. I knew He wanted to be different.”
Tom’s home life was anything but nurturing of his new faith.
“I hated my life. I would cry night after night, going, ‘Why, God, if you love me so much, am I in this situation?’ Am I going to have to wake up again and face another day not knowing if I’m going to get beat up or my mother’s going to get beat up?
"There were a couple of things that were starting to happen: one was self-hatred. I started thinking, ‘Maybe God just doesn’t love me. Maybe there’s something wrong with me.’ That started a pattern in my life of ‘I don’t like who I am.’ I feel like God isn’t as close and present in my life as I’d like Him to be. So I can use alcohol and later drugs as a way to cover up that and become somebody I’m not.”
By his teens, Tom was drinking and using drugs. Eventually, Tom left home and found a way to support his lifestyle. He says, “It started with working at a company that was a little shady, but I was making a ton of money at 17 years old. We started doing things we never should have done, like counterfeiting traveler’s checks, assuming identities and being somebody we weren’t so we could create money out of thin air. I was drinking so much I didn’t remember what had happened the night before.
"My drug use was getting terrible. I had gotten so despondent and discouraged, so depressed from my lifestyle [that] I decided I was going to commit suicide. So a friend of mine and I decided we were going to end it all. We took a box of sleeping pills, locked ourselves in a garage with a car that was started.
“I felt my body shutting down. I felt all of the oxygen, all of the life, coming out of me. At the last second, God woke me up in that car in that locked garage and said, ‘This isn’t your time. You got to get out of here now,’ and literally I don’t even know how I made it out. I crawled out of that garage and had the most bizarre experience. When I hit that door, I saw the life come back into my body.”
Tom and his friend both survived. He recalls, “I was at a crossroads. That’s when God came into my life and said, ‘I am going to give you another chance, but you’ve got to seek Me with your whole heart. When you seek Me with your whole heart, you’ll find Me.’
“I wanted to know what it was like to have intimacy with God, for Him to love me and there to be a relationship. I said, ‘I’m going to know You. I’m going to know the depth of these words You’ve written in the Bible.’ I ended up literally packing up, disappeared and didn’t tell anyone where I was going and went to Bible School. Through the relationships that I had at that Bible School, God would just minister to me and heal those areas in my heart that I couldn’t heal on my own and that nobody else could touch.”
Even after God radically turned his life around, his past and the FBI caught up with him.
“I thought I had left all this stuff and that it was not going to affect me. I ended up going to my attorney’s office and sat down with two FBI officers. They showed me the fake IDs that they had found. They told me stories about how they had been following me, the things they knew I had done. I sat there in front of them dumbfounded. I told them everything I had done. I told them things that they had no idea I had done. I told them the whole picture. They looked at me and said, ‘We’ve never seen anybody as honest as you are about this.’ I had just incriminated myself. I just sentenced myself to 60, 70 years in a federal penitentiary. They said, ‘Why don’t you go back to Bible school and we’ll call you and let you know what we’re going to do.”
Soon the FBI called to tell Tom they were reducing the charges to one federal offense. A judge gave Tom the lightest sentence possible: one year in federal prison.
“When that gavel came down, I had to go serve time for what I had done,” he says. “Then I got out. I had this black box on my ankle, and after that was over, I was free, and everything else in my past was gone. Now I could start all over again.”
When he was released, Tom became a youth pastor and an author. Today he’s married with six children. He’s runs an international adoption ministry.
“I wanted fatherless kids or kids from broken homes to know that God is a father. He loves them. He’ll heal them, just like he did for me. I was deep in my sin and the junk that was in my life. I had no hope, and God just healed those places. He said, ‘You can trust Me. I’ll be your father. Even though you’ve never had a father, I will teach you what it is like. God has proved Himself as my father. He has reaffirmed who He is in my life. He has taught me the things I needed to learn when I needed to learn it from a father. He has been faithful. “
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