“Help! Help me!” came a desperate cry within a rumble of voices, screams and shouts in the prison yard!

Big Jake, one of three prison guards, sprinted, following his ears and eyes to a crowd where an inmate was being stabbed again and again by fellow prisoners.

[stock photo – not the real “Big Jake”, but much like him in attitude and smiles]

Jake bulldozed his way in and pulled the injured man away from his attackers while the other guards took over.  As the big man carried the prisoner away from danger,  Big Jake felt a pull in his foot. Later, he learned he had damaged the tendon. Though the injured inmate recovered, Big Jake would never completely heal. He had a permanent and painful injury, but thought it an unimportant detail compared to saving a life.

It wasn’t the first time.  When an inmate tried to end his own life, Big Jake charged in and boomed, “You’re a survivor! Don’t you see that? You’ve survived all these things so far. Don’t you want to see what God has in mind for you next? You’ll make it because you’re a survivor!”  And the man stopped. He was caught in the wonder of his life. He lived to see the good things God planned for his future.

Later retired from his prison job, smiling Big Jake greeted all who came into the retail store where he worked security.

When Father’s Day came around, Big Jake hankered to celebrate his 50th birthday on an uphill, outdoor trek with family–sons, nephews, sisters, and cousins. They all planned a hike through the tall trees, ending in a mountaintop view of the grassy hills and valleys below that stretched out for miles.

Pain? Yes. But he focused on a bigger picture. Would his injured foot be a problem on this hike? Not if by his attitude and his will, he could make it work.  Big Jake did.

“Life’s about sharing experiences, loving, and giving. Lots of people think life’s about making more money. But that’s not it at all. I’m a dad. Sharing time. That’s more important.”

When Big Jake returned to work days after the hike, his face lit with a grin, “I made it further than I thought I would!”  He had been able to share the gift of a day. His family and others saw him as a dad and a hero.Jake’s investment of time was a genuine gift of self.

It is not so different from Jesus’ own gift to us from God the Father, as a hero and a dad who loves us unconditionally.

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! That is what we are!” writes John in 1 John 3:1.

‘My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” [1 John 2:1-2]

Father, Hero, Dad – God is all those things to us. Praise and celebrate him and appreciate those in your life who are also father, hero and Dad!

Happy Father’s Day!

[Much thanks to the story and life examples of Big Jake, who continues to inspire, encourage and show us the blessings of each day at work and in the community.]

[ Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of scores of articles, a half dozen anthology contributions, and her recent Give Us This Day Our Daily Grin – A Fun-Lovers Guide to Spiritual Living and Growing now in print and e-book on Amazon Kindle and other e-formats Smashwords. She is author of several other books, including new release Bring on the Blessings of Baskets ~ Easy, Fast, Personalized and Outreach Ministry Gifts. Amazon . Jo lives in northeast Arizona and writes a popular humorous weekly blog on her website, www.button-to-god.com.]




About Jo Russell

Jo’s humor, inspirational stories, articles and devotionals have spanned more than 40 years, with several national writing contest awards for humor. She's a contributing author in Chicken Soup for the Soul—Shaping the New You and Heavenly Humor for the Dieter’s Soul.

Contact Jo

Find Jo on Twitter and Facebook. To schedule Jo as a speaker or to discuss your writing project and receive a free quote, call her at 928-536-2479. Or contact her using the website Contact Form.

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