Jacqui walked tentatively towards the church, hesitating for a few seconds as she entered the foyer. It had been ten years since she had been back. She looked around thoughtfully as she slowly moved into the sanctuary and sat down.
Today was a joyous celebration. Her friend’s daughter was getting married.
As she sat waiting for the bride to arrive, her thoughts tumbled back those ten years. She saw herself sitting at the front of the church with her mum and sisters, looking at the coffin of her Dad.
It had been a long two year battle with cancer, starting with a melanoma on his head, and ending with pin pricks of tumour all over his brain. It wasn’t the way he wanted to die, but he knew where he was going when his life was over.
“Jacqui”, he had said, “I’ve had a good life, and the Bible tells us that we have three score years and ten. I am already seventy, so any extra time is a bonus. Don’t be sad for me. God’s timing is best.”
Jacqui smiled as she remembered his comments. Over the years, she had remembered what he had said, and it had comforted her.
Her mind slipped back to the day of his death. He was in a palliative care hospice, and looked like a different person, certainly not her Dad. The nurse told her that he was unconscious, but that didn’t stop Jacqui and her sisters singing to him.
There had been a theme song that the whole family had sung over the two years, “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow”, and on this day it was sung again, only this time without her Mum who had slipped away for a couple of hours. Her Dad, who was supposed to be unconscious, turned his head, opened his eyes, and watched his girls sing. They had continued to sing, picking a hymn that he had loved, Softly and Tenderly, Jesus is calling, and then “The Lord bless you and keep you.” It had seemed appropriate at the time.
Jacqui blinked her eyes to hold back the tears. It was still hard to think of her Dad without getting emotional. She moved forward in her thoughts a few days, to the funeral. She had been so adamant that she wanted to sing their theme song. It had meant so much to the whole family that no matter what happened, God would be with them.
She had her sisters stood up in front of the four hundred and fifty people who filled the Baptist church to overflowing, and talked about their Dad. When one sister got teary, another one was there to take over. Then they sang. It was amazing to see half the church sitting with tears streaming down their faces, not even trying to wipe their faces. God was good. They got through the song without even crying – even the verse that talked about death.
It had been a real celebration of a man of God. Jacqui had no doubt that she would see her Dad again when it was her turn to come into the presence of God……
“Excuse me, but can I sit next to you?”
Jacqui’s thoughts turned back to the presence.
“Yes, of course you can”.
She looked expectantly toward the back of the church where the bridesmaids were standing. It was a great day. A day of new beginnings.
God was still in control.
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