Friday, December 19, 2008
Today marks the 53rd anniversary of my Father's death. The evening of that day remains crystal clear. Even now I can remember being upstairs looking out the window seeing the uniformed men getting out of a car coming to our front door. Something inside of me caused me to know it was not good news being brought into my life. For me there is a barely remembered life before that day. Since then, every day of my life has been impacted and shaped by what happened that December afternoon.
One thing for which I have always been grateful is the knowledge that my Father came to a place of accepting Jesus before he died. I can never remember him as a church going person, but I do remember him going some before that December day. I was told it was his intention to be baptized there in the base chapel in January and years later, going through some old stuff, I found a chaplain's notes in a memorial book speaking of my Father's faith and his intention to be baptized. For those who say such does not matter, I would beg to differ. It has mattered immensely to me. Whether we will actually be able to recognize our loved ones in heaven is really something hoped for, but mostly a mystery. Knowing that he is there and a part of that great cloud of witnesses in the heavenly place is enough.
Over the years of ministry, I have learned that there is one thing the grieving really want to know. They want to be assured that the one who has died was a person of faith and is with the Lord. I am no different than are they. The one important thing we can give to those who are important to us is a life that would never give them any reason to doubt that our faith in Jesus Christ is the most important thing to us. It is never something which they should wonder about when we are gone. By God's mercy, we have the time to make sure they know.