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19
Apr
2017

The Radicalization of a Son

April 19th, 2017 | in Family |    4   

The Radicalization of a Son 

Receiving the news no father should have to hear

By: Wayne Driver

Note: This article first appeared on page 52 in the Spring/Summer 2017 issue of Alliance Connection Magazine

My son Aaron was a happy seven-year-old when his mother died of brain cancer in 1999. He took her death hard and blamed God. He stopped eating so that he could be with his mom. He lost interest in church and became disruptive. No matter what we did or who we took him to see, we seemed unable to help him through the grieving process.

Aaron remained close to his brother and sister but found himself in trouble with the law, running away and skipping school. He got into drugs and alcohol. At 16, he went to live at a group home.

At 19, Aaron found the religion of Islam and had turned his life around. Somewhere along his chosen path, he became secretive and radicalized in support of terrorism.

We never gave up on him. We prayed for him and reached out via the telephone and text messages that went unanswered. Because he had shut us out of his life, all we could do was to love him and continue to pray for him.

Then he set off a bomb outside his sister’s home in Strathroy, Ontario. He died from being shot by a police Then he set off a bomb...officer because he refused to surrender.left margin 25 pixels

I was shocked when I received the news of his death. It was hard to imagine my son doing something like that. Harder still was seeing him on the evening news and reading articles about what had led to his demise.

I wondered what had driven him to such extremes and pondered what I could have done differently to help him. It boils down to the fact that we all have the right to choose, no matter how misguided others may think our choices are.

To cope with his loss, I choose to pray, and others have prayed for me. I maintain my normal routine, talk about him when asked, go to church, and seek God’s guidance when I hurt. I take refuge in the Word of God.

We made all attempts to help him while he was alive, and we grieve for him now, but “I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust’” no matter what life throws at me (Psalm 91:2).


Wayne Driver

Wayne Driver is intern pastor at Harbour Light Alliance Church in Cold Lake, AB

more stories by Wayne Driver
Tags: magazine-spring-2017

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