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I Hated My Dad and Was Angry at God
He hated church, but couldn't resist dinner and a movie. That evening transformed his life.

I grew up in a dysfunctional family. Dad was an abusive alcoholic who almost killed my Mom when I was fifteen. I went through life angry at God because, if He existed, He didn't seem present in my life.

I Hated My Dad and Was Angry at God
Steven Bryan

When I was in my early 20s I hated the idea of God. I hated the idea of church. Then a former co-worker invited me to "dinner and a movie." He meant Alpha! I didn't know what Alpha was, but the idea of going into a church kind of frightened me. I thought that if I stepped into a church I would burst into flames.

My previous church experience as a kid involved getting dropped off for Sunday School, skipping the class, taking my collection money and buying candy with it, eating it in the bushes, and being out in front of the church in time to get picked up. That just about sums up my church experience as a child.

When my friend invited me to "dinner and a movie" in a church, it must have been the hand of God that led me to say "Yes," because there's no way I would have set foot in a church.

I sat there the first night at Alpha watching the movie and listening to Nicky Gumbel. The people at the church were pleasant. They weren't down my throat, so I entertained the idea of coming back a second time.

I came the second time, and a third. As I was watching the third movie called "Why Did Jesus Die?" I realized that, although I had always heard the name, Jesus, I didn't know who He was or what He did. So, after coming home that night, I asked my friend if I could borrow her Bible.

I opened it and read the story of Job—a man who had been through a lot, and yet God was still present. It was like God was saying to me, "Just because you were going through all this stuff doesn't mean I wasn't there." So that night I said, "Okay, God. I think I can believe in Jesus. I just need to know, where were you when I was growing up?"

God showed me image after image of times when He was there. Like when Dad had almost killed my Mom. As she was wheeled in, the doctor said, "We're losing her!" She had lost a lot of blood and was bleeding internally. But they revived her. God just said, "You know, that was me."

That night I realized that I had to ask God to forgive my sins, but the first thing I had to do was to forgive my Dad … something I thought I would never be able to do. I had such hatred and resentment toward him. That night, from the bottom of my heart, I was able to forgive him and I asked God to forgive me.

My Dad had become a believer later in life, but I had still hated him. Now our conversations were always about God. I enjoyed this new relationship with my Dad for a year and a half before he passed away. It provided an opportunity to see God's healing power to reconcile relationships.

When I look at what Jesus is doing in my life, it's just amazing how He is transforming my heart, and even more amazing, how He reconciled me with my father who passed away just two weeks ago! Overall, Alpha was the beginning of big changes. Now I actually love people!

Originally published by Alpha Ministries Canada, April 2005.




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