Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Celebrating Dad

Here's part of what I had to say at Dad's funeral:

One day, when I was in high school, I asked Dad if I could go somewhere. Typical of Dad, he couldn’t just give me a “yes” or “no” answer. Instead, he pulled out a coin. “Heads you can go.” “Tails, you can’t.” Then he threw on for laughs, “And if it lands on it’s side, you can do whatever you want for the rest of your life.” He tossed the coin in the air and let it fall to the ground. I was hoping and hoping for heads. It dropped and it rolled. It rolled to the side of the sofa and rested on its side. Dad just stood there in amazement as I said, “see ya later”.

“It was the darndest thing” he’d say and shake his head in disbelief every time I recalled this memory. Dad taught me in this experience that things don’t always go the way we expect or hope them to.

For us, things didn’t go the way we expected or hoped in Dad’s battle with cancer. To many, it may seem as though God did not answer our prayers. Honestly, there are times I wonder why I should even pray anymore.

Still, I pray because of the hope I hold onto. 2 Peter 1:12-15 says “Therefore, I will always remind you about these things – even though you already know them and are standing firm in the truth you have been taught. And it is only right that I should keep on reminding you as long as I live. For our Lord Jesus Christ has shown me that I must soon leave this earthly life, so I will work hard to make sure you always remember these things after I am gone.” Dad taught us about this hope. This hope gave him the peace that he lived up until his final breath. This hope is what carried me through this last year and it’s the hope that will continue to carry me through now.

When Dad’s battle with cancer was over, even has he spent his last days lying on the couch on painkillers, no longer was my hope for God to keep him here (although I was clear that a miracle was selfishly preferred). My hope was and is now in joining him in heaven someday.

Dad taught me there is no fear in death. There is no fear because we know what awaits us. I long for eternity now even more.

For us, there are only memories and so many unanswered questions. But there is also hope. And it’s more than just a hope. It’s a promise in the Bible. John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him shall not be separated from God for eternity, but have eternal life.” Because Jesus took the payment for our sins on Calvary, I can share eternity in heaven with Dad. Today, there really isn’t much that is more important to me than the thought of sharing eternity with my dad. Reality is, that when we get to heaven, we will be so in awe of our God that we’ll worship Him together. Just like we did here on earth but better. Everything will be better there.

While it is a comfort to know there is the hope of heaven, I shared with Dad that it is us that are left here on earth for which my heart aches. He responded with “You’ll blink and this life will be over. Time on earth here will pass quickly. Really, it will.” I believe he took this from 2 Peter 3:8 which says “But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day.”

Dad is not missing us. He can see ever so clearly now. He’s no longer in pain. He’s experiencing what God’s original intention was for us. Still, we’re missing him. We miss him because we have yet to experience fully what God intended.

So, to honor him, we will continue to celebrate his life. We will continue to live ours to the full. And we will look to the hope for that day that is promised to us in the Bible when all of us who have received Jesus’ payment for our sins can be together forever with no goodbyes – no pain – no cancer and no tears – forever. My heart is already there.

1 comment:

  1. Tristi,

    How beautiful. And what a fitting tribute to a man who loved you and raised you well.

    I continue to pray for you and your family as you adjust to life different from any you've known before.

    With love in Christ,