Saturday, April 11, 2009

Application of Phil. 4:8 - My Father

Today marks the third anniversary of my father's passing from this life to the next. My family and I miss him still, but that's pretty much where all of our grief is focused. Even on that Tuesday evening when my brother and I were called back to the hospital, by my mom in the midst of the great sadness there was an even greater gratitude. In the previous post, I talked about "thinking" about the good stuff in life, and with regards to the loss of my father, I know first hand that God's commands work. What a surprise, huh?

Though the death of my father was very painful, there were many things to think about that were "good." I've been around a lot of death in my ministry, and a lot of families. I knew that in our situation, we had many, many things to be thankful for, even in that valley of the shadow of death, especially the fact that the Savior my father trusted as a young man made good on His promise to take care of this life, and in the next!

He had done it many times before, through World War II (he was award a Purple Heart with a bar for two separate wounds, including shrapnel from a shell that killed almost 40 members of his battalion), and through his numerous medical battles mainly with diabetes and his heart. Still, his last day was filled with well-wishers, both family and friends, and then, as I prepared to leave, I prayed with him and my mom, thanking God for both of them, and, then, like he had done so many times before, he said, "Be careful." I said, "I love you both." And he responded, "Love you, too."

In an hour, he had one last heart attack and was gone. Who gets to have that kind of last moment with a parent?

So I thank God for giving me my earthly father, for his bravery in serving his country, for his love for my mom (and for giving them 54 years of marriage) my brother and me, for his impact on everyone who knew and loved him, and for so many other things. Mostly I'm thankful he is okay, and is home, happy and whole. Pray for my mom as today will have its own special dose of sadness, and I am, too, but I praise God that's not all I have today!

I have the memory of my father, the hope of seeing him again, and I thank God I was allowed to deliver the message as we laid Pa's body to rest on Good Friday, the same day we remember God's burying His Son...I'll never forget that amazing privilege of celebrating my father's life, and proclaiming the hope we have in Christ that death is no longer to be feared, for He has conquered it, not just for Himself, but for us, too!

So if you are grieving the loss of someone you love, may the message of Resurrection Sunday carry a special reminder of the living hope we have in the One Who became our Way through death to life everlasting.

Oh, and one more shot at "thinking" effectively. Paul to the church at Colossi: Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. (3:1-3)

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