I have lived by “We sorrow not like the rest of the world that has no hope…” since 2:38 EDT today. That was when I had the joy and honor of being with my dad when he drew his last breath and at least two of God’s angels ushered him into God’s presence. (Click here, and in second paragraph below for a little background of God saving a man who was lost yet served four churches as pastor. That would be my dad!)
My personal experience in being with my dad for the last two weeks of his life is this… God’s grace is sufficient for our every need. Yes, I have cried and wept… but the overwhelming emotion I have experienced today has been rejoicing, celebration, and gladness! Not contrived mind you, but it has welled up within me in an uncontrollable manner (Which I did not expect!). I have found that Jesus’ words are true, “My joy I leave with you…”
As I wrote earlier, my dad served four churches as pastor while not being saved. How is it possible to preach the Gospel… lead people to salvation… know Scripture well… and still be lost? Because Jesus said it would happen in Matthew 7:21-23…
Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessnes.’
That described my dad until a few weeks ago. In God’s love and grace He decided to reach down and bring my dad into the kingdom after living a life of rebellion for many years and then trying to atone for it by doing works of righteousness. Only near the end did God reveal Himself to my dad in such a way as to break him and bring him to salvation. Thus my dad was hopefully saved just a few weeks prior to his life ending.
Monday… God willing… I will have the honor of proclaiming God’s glory and grace at Dad’s funeral. The only thing that bothers me is that he got to see Jesus face to face before I did. Thus 2 Corinthians 5:1-10…
For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, 3 if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. 4 For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. 6 So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.