On December 6, 1994, I experienced one of the biggest changes of my life. It was Tuesday around 10:00 am. I was sitting at my desk at the office, looking at my calendar and thinking this was the first time I could remember in my working career I had no appointments set up for the remainder of the week, when my phone rang. It was my wife telling me my dad’s heart had quit beating and they had rushed him to the hospital.
He was on life support when I made it to the emergency room, and, quite frankly, should never have been revived by the paramedics. I was stunned to say the least! He was 76, in decent shape, and the largest influence in my life. I depended on him completely for advice and encouragement. As I watched him lay there on the gurney, lifeless, I couldn’t believe the strongest influence of my life was basically checking out of life, nevermore to listen to my struggles, offer profound wisdom to me about everything imaginable, no more stories about his childhood, fly fishing, World War II, etc.
My dad lasted a couple of days with no brain activity as they weaned him off the life support system. Finally, around 3:30 pm on the 8th, he left this world to be with the Lord. I was numb and felt like I’d lost a body part. I can remember him telling me when I left for college to put “God first in everything you do.” I remember the weekend after graduating from college, him taking me on our first fly fishing excursion together, sharing his secret fishing spots and telling me not to tell anyone where they were, seeing him casting 60 feet and laying a popping bug 3 feet under a limb with no problem, and so many more experiences that I still think of from time to time. There is rarely a day goes by that I don’t think about my dad in some way.
There is no better feeling in the world than to know that your dad is proud of you. But as Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 tells us, there is a time for every purpose under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die, a time to break down and a time to build up, a time to weep and a time to laugh and so on. Life is full of uncertainty, but one thing that will always remain constant is God’s love for us. Romans 8:38-39 tells us, “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (NKJV). I am a much stronger person than I was in 1994, knowing that I have a heavenly Father who watches after me and lives forever. I still miss my dad so much, but I know he was as close to his dad as I was to him. I know he made it through life realizing that things good and bad are going to happen to, and around us, but we have a savior Jesus Christ, who “in that he himself has suffered being tempted. He is able to aid those who are tempted” (Hebrews 2:18, NKJV).
I can reflect on some great memories of the past, and look forward to more with my existing biological and spiritual family and friends until I go to meet my Lord. Life boils down to what Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep his commandments. For this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing whether good or evil” (NKJV).
Let us face the future with faith, hope, and love, realizing with God, there are no dead ends in this life because of what Jesus Christ did and is doing for us.