This last week has been quite the roller coaster ride from the death of my father to beginning the process to become a pastor. In all of it, I can’t help but see God ever so present. Death hurts and the sting of the pain may never dissipate. This numb feeling that tugs at your heart for that loved one may linger for a lifetime reminding us of the void that exists and of the times that we shared. This last week in the hospital, I was able to reflect and cherish the relationship with my dad. At times, he could not speak or acknowledge that I was there but I knew he could sense the presence of his family in the room with him and it must have brought him comfort. I was blessed to be able to spend his last few days with him. By his side, holding his hand, and just talking about the things he enjoyed. The love in his room was intense and undeniable. My heart swelled with it and my heart ached. Weeks before, I was able to talk openly with my dad about his relationship with God and learn that he was bitter and angry for quite some time. He didn’t understand why God would allow such things to happen and why He would allow such pain but my dad assured me that he was finally at peace with God. He accepted that His will be done and he was ready to go home.
You have allowed me to suffer much hardship, but you will restore me to life again and lift me up from the depths of the earth. You will restore me to even greater honor and comfort me once again. – Psalm 71:20-21
I also witnessed the love his wife had for him. Amazing really. I was blessed to see the commitment to my father and care that she ministered to him. It was affirmed that God had a purpose for man and woman when he created them. The purpose of sharing together, learning to love together, and glorifying him together which was ever so present in the hospital room. My dad was deeply loved by her and it continued to deepen until the end. I imagined Jesus sitting there by his bedside assuring him that he will be ok and that he will rise. Telling us that his pain and suffering is over and his new body awaits him. Asking me as he did Martha when Lazarus died, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Brian?”
For that is what God is like. He is our God forever and ever, and he will guide us until we die. – Psalm 48:14
Even in the hardest of times, if we can remove ourself from the center of the situation and step back we might observe good in all of it. We may see that the love God created to dwell within us exists and nothing can defeat the power of it. Love is stronger than our enemy and as long as it dwells in our heart we are warriors against our hardships and there is something else that is ever so sure…
God’s goodness and unfailing love followed my father till the end.
The Lord is my shepherd;
I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.
He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to his name.
Even when I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me
in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord