There are some moments in time that forever remain frozen, suspended somewhere as if you could actually reach out and touch them. Five years ago this morning, I had one of those moments.
My phone rang well before daybreak that Monday, jarring me out of a sound sleep. When I answered it, I heard the words that changed my world. “Dad is with the Lord”.
I wonder what goes on in the brain at that split second. Neurons firing wildly in desperate attempts to file the information logically, to sort out words that were so unexpected and surprising that they just don’t make any sense. Denial, panic, fear. The mind and body that were sleeping restfully just seconds before are now in full-on alert. Questions being asked, but not really hearing the answers because your thoughts are already five questions ahead. How? Why? What happens now? How do I get from Florida to New Jersey as soon as possible? I thought I was going to work as usual that morning. Now, I was having to explain to an airline representative that I needed to get on a flight to Newark. Today.
And how does one pack in a few hours for a sudden trip that will include a funeral? A funeral for your father, the strong man who was always supposed to be there, only now he’s not, because “Dad is with the Lord”.
Those early hours of January 23, 2012 are embedded in my mind in a way that few of my life moments ever have been. As the necessary tasks of the day began to take shape, as the phone calls were made to the important people in my life and I began to grasp the enormity of it all, the panic retreated and a peace began to creep in. Slowly, there was the realization that this was all going to be OK, that God was very much in the picture, and we were not facing this alone or without hope.
I had often tried to envision what a moment like that would be like, that moment when the Worst Thing That Has Ever Happened To You actually happens. I knew the Bible verse about “peace that passes understanding”, but that morning, I experienced it personally. That peace didn’t make the news any easier to understand or believe, but it reminded me of God’s love and care. It reminded me that He was standing next to my bed as the phone rang, and that He was never going to leave me.
Our family has seen God’s faithfulness played out in a million different ways since that morning. Difficult times, for sure, but He has sustained us, provided for us, loved us and blessed us abundantly. We miss Dad so much sometimes it hurts, and yet we can rejoice in hope because we know He is in the presence of the Savior he spent a lifetime telling others about. His work was done here, but his legacy lives on in the lives of his children, and in the lives of the people he introduced to the Lord.
Today is a milestone. Five years ago I couldn’t imagine what the future would hold, and we still don’t know what lies ahead. But we continue to walk with the One who does. Dad would have wanted that.
Miss you, Dad!
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13
And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. Revelation 21:4
And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died, so that you will not grieve like people who have no hope. 1 Thessalonians 4:13