One year ago today my Dad went home to be with Jesus.
I miss him... There's hardly a day that goes by that I don't think about him. Some days I still pick up the phone to call him...
By the way, that's not a cheap attempt at sympathy. Just the reality of how I feel.
Today I stood with my Mom and a couple of my brothers at the stone that marks Dad's grave. We thanked God for the life Dad lived and the legacy he left. He's the kind of guy who could actually quote the words of Paul without blushing.
"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." (2 Timothy 4:7)
He could do more than quote that verse. He lived it.
But, as we stood at the head marker of Dad's grave, we also remembered the hope of the resurrection.
"...if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world." (1 Corinthians 15:19)
I miss Dad like crazy, but I know where he is and I'm convinced that one day we'll join him... Because we have something that is absolutely essential for life that is sometimes marked by pain and loss: the gift of HOPE.
I thank God for the hope of the resurrection.
I thank God for the life and legacy of my Dad. Part of that legacy beats in my chest. The belief that the best is yet to come. In the words of Mark Heard.
Every now and then I seem to dream these dreams
Where the mute ones speak and the deaf ones sing
Touching that miraculous circumstance
Where the blind ones see and the dry bones dance
One day we will live the reality of 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. My Dad thoroughly believed that. Until that day, we HOPE.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 (NLT), Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. 14 We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage each other with these words.
Dad loved this verse. He also loved this verse.
Romans 8:18 (KJV), For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
This is the difference Jesus makes when the bottom falls out of life.
He gives hope. He gives assurance. He gives life. He gives a fresh perspective on pain and loss.
Oh, that's part of the legacy my Dad gave me...