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A Father’s Final Journey
by Martin Wiles
05/26/11
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II Timothy 4:7
(excerpt from Morning Meditations by Martin Wiles)
II Timothy 4:7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. (NLT)
In May 2009, my father made his final journey. He told us he wasn’t coming back home. We didn’t believe him, but the words were prophetic.
Several years earlier, Dad had his heart valve replaced. Complications soon followed. The surgeon and cardiologist disagreed on the cause, so Dad was referred to Emory University Midtown in Atlanta, Georgia were a second operation was scheduled.
The operation was successful. It seems his heart had beaten up the first valve. Our optimism was short lived. Dad contracted MRSA. Before surgery, he had reiterated his wishes, reminding us about his living will and telling us if something went wrong not to let him be resuscitated. Dad wanted to go home-his reference to heaven. We had to make a decision. He was ready for the “final move,” but were we willing to let him go.
After completing a Do Not Resuscitate order and consulting with several doctors, we decided to remove the ventilator. It wasn’t easy. Tears flowed and second thoughts cropped up.
My father was a pastor for more than forty years. He wanted to preach until the end and he almost did. But his longing to obey that call was preceded by other fatherly desires. At nine years of age, Dad encouraged me to trust Jesus as my Savior. It was a message he repeated to my two brothers. We in turn shared it with our children. Dad had the privilege of baptizing four of his grandchildren and watching one of his sons follow in his footsteps.
And Dad loved my mom through fifty one years of marriage. She was the apple of his eye, and he always hoped he’d die before her, knowing he couldn’t live without her. Dad had fought the good fight and finished the race. He would hear, “Well done good and faithful servant.”
The time of death is always uncertain, but each day brings us nearer. It may come peacefully or through pain and tragedy. The question for fathers and everyone is whether we’re ready for the final journey. At the end of the race, will you be found faithful? See you soon Dad!
Prayer: Lord Jesus, may I live each day with the knowledge it might be my last.

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