This story is about two friends, Joe and Bill. Joe and Bill were best friends from an early age. They grew up in the same town and went to the same schools but they were a year apart. Joe and Bill were very similar in many ways but they had one major difference, their home life. Joe came from a very loving and supportive family but Bills family was not much to speak of. His dad left at an early age and his mom was a drunk. Joe on the other hand had a mom who was a homemaker and a dad who provided everything he ever needed. Joe was always getting to go to sporting events and concerts but the beautiful thing of it was that Joe’s dad would provide a way for Bill to go as well. Never wanting anything was good for Joe but it built resentment in Bill. He would bad mouth Joe’s family, slandering them but Joe continued to love him and share friendship with him.
Bill graduated and took off to college. He started experimenting with drugs and began to drink. Within months, he joined a gang and was barely surviving in school. By the second year, Bill was a complete wreck. Luckily this was when Joe showed back up. Once again, Joes influence in Bills life was enough to shock him back into reality. His drinking and drug use slowed almost to a halt and his gang life was almost nonexistent. It was in Joe’s second year that the tragedy happened. Bill got into some trouble with his gang and the only way that they would let him out for good was if he would complete one last job for them. They wanted him to rob one of the largest drug dealers in the area. This job was too large for one man to handle so he asked Joe to help. Seeing that there was no way to talk Bill out of it and no other way around the situation, he agreed.
Things went wrong in the robbery and the drug dealer pulled a gun. Before Bill realized what had happened, the gun fired and Joe was already between him and the drug dealer. Joe was lying on the ground with a bullet in him and a pool of blood surrounding him. Dead. This crushed Bill for he truly loved Joe and he took a turn for the worse. The next few years were a revolving door and a downward spiral. The same old cycle, use drugs and go to jail. After a couple of years, Bill got busted with a large amount of drugs and wound up going to prison on a ten year sentence. Halfway through his time, Bill got a letter from Joe’s dad.
Bill’s guilt from the tragedy kept him from opening the letter for the next year but finally one night when he was broken and afraid, he read it. It was very simple and said, “If you ever need me, I’ll be waiting.” It also contained Joe’s dads personal contact information. It took a couple of weeks for everything to work out but Bill finally made the call. Joe’s dad was extremely excited to hear from Bill but it was almost too much for Bill to handle. He could feel the love that Joe’s dad had for him and before the call was over, he asked for forgiveness. Joes dad reassured him that he was already forgiven.
The two men spent the next few years corresponding back and forth and built a strong relationship. When it came time for Bills release, Joe’s dad was at the gate waiting for him with arms wide open. Joe’s dad said that from that day forward he was to call him dad for he considered him his son. Not only that but he had bought Bill a new car, a new house, and set him up with a good job. He continued to pour out blessing after blessing. Bill could not understand how he could still love him after costing him the life of his son. He finally said, I deserve death but you bless me with life.
Joe’s dad explained; You see, Joe consented my advice in every decision he made. When you were caught up in your drugs I sent my son to guide you out. When you were in a life and death situation, I sent my son to protect you at all cost. When you were living and making your own choices I still loved you as my own son. When you deserved death, I gave you life. That’s Grace!
Story by Jason Breeland