The Death of my Dad

     Anyone could see that his death coming, because his health was so bad and his emotional state declining so rapidly in the past year.  It was hard to start letting go of him well before he actually died, but I saw that it was his choice to shield me from his deterioration, and so I accepted that and considered it a gift he was trying to give me.  While he died of a sudden heart attack, there was nothing out of the blue about it.
     I have much gratitude for the ways I see God giving me treasures at every turn.  I am grateful that Dad’s death was as dignified as it was; I am grateful that we buried him in the manner and location that he desired; I am grateful that all his children and all his grandchildren were present (no small feat!); I am grateful that his ex-wives were all there (a tremendous display of love and forgiveness).  I am grateful that obstacles I could sense coming were dissolved, and personal conflicts averted.  I am grateful that the funeral service was more loving, faithful and capturing his life more than I could have anticipated.  I am grateful, most of all, for the bedrock of love that I feel from him.  Despite his failures, his love for me and my sisters is unsurpassed, and this love is part of the strength that I carry with me everyday.
     The trial I now face, however, is that he died, not right with God.  While I have hope that God will be merciful upon him, remember Dad’s past love for God and forgive Dad’s abandoning the way of this love, I sense poignantly how much mercy this would take, and how awful it is to die out of favor with God.  Death is so stark and real and miserable.  How tragic to die, or for your loved ones to die, at best gone forever, at worst, living in eternal torture.  (How fascinating that other people think they can just imagine what they wish happens after death, and think that will then in fact happen!  Who is in charge of death?  Not us!)  I understand the struggles of faith–humility is hard; obedience is hard; I know these struggles.  But it seems better to me to live as a Christian and struggle as a Christian with the issues that beset you, than to leave the family of God, and think you have somehow found higher ground.  That higher ground will dissolve under your feet the day that death comes.
     What I wish for everyone whom I love–and I desperately wish this–is that they would get right with God.  I wish that they would pray: “Jesus, I give my life to you.  I want to be a child of God.  I put my heart and life into your hands: I want intimacy with you.”  Then, get a Bible and a Christian who has a real, vital relationship with God.  Follow what the Bible and the Christian in what they say, as you begin your new life.  You will be transformed from the inside out, and be given a fresh, vibrant spirit.  Your sins will dissolve; they will be thrown “as far as the east is from the west.”  Truly, being reborn in God is the only way to get out of their grip!  As you begin your transformed life, you will find a peace, joy and contentment for which every human heart yearns.