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Comfort knowing dad's life is in God's hands

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Life is unpredictable. And I know that’s not a news flash to anyone.

Sometimes the unpredictability of life does nothing more than keep us on our toes. Other times, we’re thrown a curveball out of nowhere and our lives are turned upside down.

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As much as we’d like to think we’ve got it all figured out, that we know what we’re doing and how to handle whatever comes at us, we really don’t have a clue. Not even a little bit. And certainly not without the Lord’s grace and mercy.

That was the case for me this week.

My dad has battled with health issues for most of his life but the last few years have been particularly hard.

On Monday, he was taken in for emergency surgery. He was deemed critical and it was important that my family get to the hospital right away.

As I walked back to see my dad, I began to think, “This could be it. This could be the day I lose him.” Was I prepared for that? But more importantly, was he?

Overhearing past conversations with others, I was pretty sure my dad had come to know the Lord as his personal savior but I had never asked him directly.

Why? Why hadn’t I felt comfortable enough to have a frank conversation with him regarding his salvation? My walk with the Lord began at age 15 so you’d think even now, at age 39, I would be able to ask such an important question of my loved ones: “Do you know where your soul is going when you leave this earth?”

I approached my dad lying in his hospital bed and immediately grabbed his hand. I began to cry.

He looked at me and said, “If the good Lord fixes me up, I’m OK with it. But if he doesn’t, I’m OK with that too. I’m ready to meet the Lord.”

As a child of God, I felt a great sense of relief. But on the other hand, it was bittersweet. While I was so thankful to hear my dad had been saved by the blood of Jesus Christ, I was faced with the reality that if the Lord deemed it was his time to go, my dad would be taken from us and nothing I could say or do in that moment would change that.

I asked my dad if anyone had prayed with him yet and he said no. So, my sister and I held hands with him, bowed our heads and prayed.

My sister kissed him, told him she loved him and went back to the waiting room to be with our mom.

I stood next to my dad’s hospital bed, watching him fight sleep. So many thoughts and emotions were going through me in that moment but I knew what I wanted to do.

When faced with the possibility you’ll never have another conversation with someone you love so much, what is it you say? What do you want them to know?

I took a deep breath, asked the Lord to give me the right words and through many tears, I thanked my dad for all that he’d taught me. I told him how proud I was to be his daughter and that I was proud to call him Dad.

Then, it was his turn to speak. He told me I taught him things too and that he was proud to be our dad. He told me all he ever wanted was to marry a good woman and have a family. He didn’t want anything more out of life.

I said I was glad to know he had asked Jesus into his heart but that I wasn’t quite ready to let him go yet as we had many more Christmases to celebrate with my daughter, his granddaughter Bella, who he lovingly calls Tuna Fish. He agreed with me so I knew he would fight as best he could.

And so far, he has.

My dad made it through surgery and while he has a long road to recovery ahead of him, I rest in the knowledge of his salvation, knowing this is all in God’s hands.

DeLYNN HOWARD may be reached at delynn.howard@brainerddispatch.com or 855-5850.

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