Friday, October 03, 2008

An Unexpected Epiphany

I only come to tell my dad Happy Birthday.

But as I stare at his grave, old thoughts rush.

Oh, Dad, you've missed so much--a grandson you never knew who bears your name, grandchildren growing up, developing distinct personalities, learning to drive, going to college...confirmations, graduations, baptisms...and we've missed you, your presence, your humor, your laugh. If only you could see who they are becoming. You'd be proud. You'd watch and you'd chuckle.

Do you see them?

The familiar doubt creeps in.

Oh, Lord, I pray he's in heaven with You.

Why do I vacillate on this?

My mind searches for a marker to link my father's salvation to and recalls a vivid picture. Dad reclines in a chair, chemotherapy drugs dripping into his veins. He is reading some papers I gave him about how to know if you're going to heaven. We discussed it the week before and I knew he didn't get the assurance he was needing (nor did I). As he shuffles to the next page, he peers over his glasses and says, "I think I asked the right person this question." I knew the words that filled the pages, things like "if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved" (Romans 10:9) and "Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God (John 1:12) and "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved" (Acts 16:31). He finishes reading and as we talk some more I see a peace come over him I have never seen before.

So why do I still wonder?

I stare at the grave and say it again.

Lord, I pray he's in heaven with You.

I close my eyes, breathe deeply and wait for an answer.

The sunshine warms my face. A gentle breeze blows. The aroma of autumn fills the air.

And I wait.

Then a thought pops into my head. It's okay.

But, Lord, is that me or is it You? How do I make sure I'm not telling myself what I want to hear?

Trust Me.

THAT again?! Why is that always the answer?

Trust My Word.

If you can't trust My Word, what else do you have? How can anything you believe be true?

Of course. You're right, Lord. I have to accept it. Your Word is my only foundation. He did believe in Your name. He did confess You as Lord and believe in his heart You were raised from the dead. He did believe in You, Lord Jesus Christ.

Which means...

I open my eyes, bend down and run my fingers over his nameplate.

Happy Birthday, Dad. Give Jesus a hug from me.

Photo Credit: Celine


MiPa said...

{{{hugs}}} Virtual hugs from me.

Patricia Warren said...



Thank you, Tami.

Rachelle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rachelle said...

My eyes fill with tears, as I think of those same things lost with my own father. Sometimes I forget how much I really miss him....he would be sooo proud. Thanks for the reminder.

Linda said...

Love shines brighter and sorrow turns to hope as we draw closer to heaven and our loved ones. Trust. He is there.

Annette said...

Thank the Lord that you were able to share your heart with your dad. The Lord used you in your dad's life. Maybe one day I can find the courage to talk to my own dad in such an intimite way and tell him about Jesus. Thanks for sharing your heart Tami.

Emiley said...

Oh, Tami. I am feeling all hormonal and weepy today anyway...and this just did me in! It's just so powerful to me because it's just so REAL. That's one of the things (of MANY!) that I love and appreciate about you!

Susan said...

Thanks for sharing your beautiful heart with us, once again.

I'll look forward to meeting your dad!!

Blessings and hugs to you~

Jaime said...

I took the boys out on his birthday and couldn't help but think that he and Kahle will never know each other. This was a great blog no matter how much it pulled at my heart. What a blessing you are to our family!! Your dad knew that and so do the rest of us!

Brenda said...

I am not sure what to say. I have deleted 3 messages so far. Just ((((((hugs)))))) and thanks for sharing such tender thoughts.