I Remember Dad, Part 2

The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. 
It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory.
It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. 
It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.
~ 1 Corinthians 15: 42-44 ~

I have had many thoughts regarding Dad; some have to do with our relationship and some with how God is bringing good from Dad’s passing.

There was a side of Dad that I did not appreciate nor understand until I was an adult. The first time I saw Dad’s emotional depths was when my brother went home to the Lord in 1988. I had never seen him cry, nor be weak, but tears flowed down his cheeks and he trembled. The only other time I saw him cry was when Mom went home to the Lord. Though they had their ups and downs, he knew her well, dealt with her with understanding, and still loved her.

The next time I saw his deep emotions was when I hurt him. This was before I was a true follower of Jesus Christ; I knew what I had done and I regretted it, but did nothing about it — until I got sick. I wrote a letter of apology to him, made an appointment with him, and then read it to him. He was tender and gentle with me; with his arm around my shoulder, he graciously received my apology and forgave me. He told me that his generation did not express love as they did in my generation; that even though he did not show nor tell me he loved me, he did love me — in his own way; that moment was the beginning of a new, loving, and fruitful relationship with my dad; one from which I greatly benefitted.

With new found love and respect for Dad, I saw that he was a man of much patience and wisdom; he sometimes said things that surprised me and increased his stature in my eyes. One time, Mom said some strong words to him, after which she left him standing and staring after her. I was surprised by his quiet response, so I asked, “Dad, how have you managed to live with Mom all these years, especially when she treats you like that?”

His response? “Your mother is like a storm in a glass of water that doesn’t last long. I have learned that when she gets like that, it’s best not to respond, but to let her get the steam out.” They had been married for about 40 years.

Dad moved to Central California several years ago; I could not visit him because my body cannot handle high altitudes. We kept in touch through the phone and mail; and we had one Skype session, at which he marveled at being able to see me.

Sixteen months ago, Dad got upset with me and refused to talk to me. My sister told me it was because I did not visit him. I did not blame him for being upset with me, nor did I give up on him (we are to hope all things). It was then that I began to grieve and mourn the loss of my relationship with Dad, but the Lord comforted me. I continued sending him cards and calling and leaving messages, until he changed his phone number a few months ago; my sister kept me apprised of his life, for which I was thankful.

Still, it pains me that I was unable to see him and speak with him before he died; healing for this pain will come through my Lord. And though I am physically separated from him now, there will come a very joyful moment in which we will be reunited, at home, in the presence of our Lord and Savior, Jesus. There will be no tears nor sorrow there, but the rejoicing of being united in Christ and sharing eternal life together with our Savior.

The latter verses of 1 Corinthians 15:51-57, state:

Behold, I tell you a mystery:
We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—
in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.
For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”

“O Death, where is your sting?
O Hades, where is your victory?”

The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

My other thoughts regarding Dad’s home-going center on the work God is doing with our family and focus on this verse from Job 1:21b:

“The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away;
Blessed be the name of the LORD.”

Nine months after the death of my brother, my niece Ashley was born. Almost one year after Mom died, my daughter Noah was born. In February, another baby is due. So, you see, the LORD gave and took, but He gave back to us.

He is also giving back in another way, after Mom died our family was splintered; some of us stayed in touch, others did not. And though Dad, in his older years became more stubborn about his relationships with some of us, none of us who were estranged from him stopped loving him. Now, because we all came together for the services, our family is being reunited and restored.

Thank you for journeying with me as I share about Dad. Our heavenly Father has a way of using things that are painful and bringing good from them. I am looking forward to spending more time with my family and getting to know them. Please pray for us, for it will be a bumpy road, but when God is the author of restoration, it will be achieved.

Heavenly Father, thank You for being our comfort through Your presence and love. We will all miss Dad, but know that You are comforting our hearts and will bring healing. We know that he is home with You and has been perfected. Thank You for the work You are doing in our lives and in reuniting our fragmented family. There will other bumps in our lives, but Your presence and love will help us through them. May all those who attended both of his services and heard Your words of truth and love, continue to be comforted and seek You with all of their hearts, that they, too, may enter into fellowship and eternity with You. I join with Paul in saying, But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory [over death] through our Lord Jesus Christ. In the name by which we can be saved, Jesus, amen.

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