Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: SING (08/16/18)
TITLE: My Dad Confronts Eternity
By Linda Lawrence
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I couldn’t leave my husband to be with them. Mom stayed by Dad’s side all day, singing to him, assuring him she loved him, singing of Jesus and His love. “Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus. . .” Singing was as natural to Mom as eating, and Dad was helpless to stop her. Mom was trying to bring heaven down to earth, but Dad must have felt he was trapped in hell.
Dad didn’t like Christians. Whenever I mentioned Jesus to Dad, I saw him harden his heart all the more, so I resorted to praying that Jesus, Himself, would have a face to face encounter with Dad. To me, Jesus seems irresistible. I hoped a Damascus Road experience like Jesus gave Saul would arrest Dad. His soul was dark but my hope was if Jesus appeared to him as light, his spiritual blindness might be healed.
Dad loved me in spite of my being a Christian. He pitied me for “needing religion as a crutch.” He knew I loved him, but my presence now would have annoyed him as much as my mother’s singing. He got angry with me, months before when I told him there would be no consolation for his family when he died since he had no desire to spend eternity with Jesus. “Don’t lay a guilt trip on me,” he said. “When we die, that’s the end.” He didn’t believe in eternity. He was like a child who runs across a busy street, sure he can’t be run down because he has his eyes closed.
He was moved into a nursing home. Mom spent her days by his side and when she didn’t know what to say, she continued to sing to him.
Mom kept my sister and brother and me informed of his decline. Each of us realized there was nothing more for us to say. After one of those phone calls, I had a dream-filled night but could only remember a fragment of it in the morning. ,Dungeon filled with light. Dad was in a dungeon, but would Jesus show Himself? Dungeon filled with light. That phrase kept repeating in my head all morning. It was familiar but I couldn’t place it. Where had I heard it, besides in the dream? It seemed I should be singing it. Was it from a hymn? Yes, that was it! I ran for the hymnal.
There it was, dungeon flamed with light. A verse of And Can It Be by Charles Wesley. My heart was pounding. I believe God gave me this song to let me know He would give Dad that final chance. This testimony could be Dad’s if he chose to follow the God willing to die for him.
Long my imprisoned spirit lay fast bound in sin and nature’s night.
Thine eye diffused a quick’ning ray: I woke - the dungeon flamed with light!
My chains fell off, my heart was free, I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
Dad was in a coma and Mom was longing to be with her Christian brothers and sisters. She slipped away to attend her church’s Thanksgiving Eve service. While she was gone, Dad slipped into eternity.
Mom had been by his side faithfully for days, covering him with assurance of being loved, but I believe Dad needed to be alone long enough to taste being separated from love, and then be given his light-filled encounter with Jesus.
Three days after Dad died, my Mom’s sister who had faithfully prayed for Dad’s salvation for years, called Mom, full of joy, to report, “Verna, Verna, the Holy Spirit told me Bart accepted Jesus!”
Whether or not Dad willingly left the chains behind, bowed his knee, then rose and followed Jesus, I won’t know until I get to heaven. But this I know: Dad is where he wants to be, where he chose to be. To my surprise, I am consoled. My consolation is the knowledge that God is good, and that He gave Dad opportunity, with eyes open, to choose to spend eternity with Him — or not.
See the prequel: My Dad Wept Once
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