(Re-posted from Comfort-Cafe.net, April 2018)
Easter has taken on new depth and meaning for me this year as my beloved father just passed away peacefully into the presence of His Savior two weeks ago. Because of the resurrection, I do not have to grieve without hope. I will see my Dad again. My heart is full with so many emotions. The song What a Beautiful Name describes the victory and triumph so well. This Easter, I imagine Dad singing his heart out as he worships before the throne of God:
Death cannot hold Him,
The veil tore before Him,
He silenced the boast of sin and grave,
The heavens are roaring
The praise of His glory
For You are raised to life again!
You have no rival!
You have no equal!
Now and forever God you reign.
Yours is the kingdom
Yours is the power
Yours is the Name above all Names!
May God’s richest Easter blessings give you joy and hope this season,
P.S. Below you’ll find an email I sent to family and friends.
Some of you already know that my father passed into the arms of Jesus on March 15th. He was 96. My heartfelt thanks to all who prayed for us these past months.
It was a great gift that we, his family, could be present with him at the end. Despite my grief, I find myself deeply grateful for countless answered prayers. And I find myself in awe of how God used my dad to bless everyone around him.
So I want to bless you too . . .
Despite great losses, debilitation, and severe pain episodes, which began with the stroke nine months ago, not once did we hear Dad complain. Instead, he remained positive. He continually expressed his appreciation to those around him, and he continually prayed for and spoke blessings over us—and all the nursing home staff as well! It was not uncommon for him, in the middle of a conversation, to grab your hand and say, “Let’s give thanks,” or to tell a staff member, “I’m praying for you.”
And the singing! At the top of his lungs! Over and over he would sing his German praise songs, his one good arm waving in the air. You could often hear him down the hall, before you even got to his room. It didn’t matter that he could no longer sing on key; it was a privilege to join in.
As had been their daily practice from the beginning of their marriage, each evening Mom and Dad continued to have devotions and pray together. Mom even taught him a new song—we were amazed at how eager he was to learn and sing along: “Come, let us worship, come let us worship, come let us worship and kneel before the Lord . . . ”
The Heaven Song
Only one song remained foremost in his heart at the end. As he grew weaker and weaker, I noticed that his lips still mouthed the words: When all my labors and trials are o’er, and I am safe on that beautiful shore…
We shed many tears as we witnessed his suffering. However, he astounded us with his single-minded focus on what mattered most—his love for people, but even more so, his love for God. Unable to read or watch much TV, he would trace lines in the air for hours. When asked what he was doing, he said that he was imagining the throne room of God. Truly, he ran the race with his eyes fixed on the prize. What a difficult, final stretch home; and yet, what a finish.
Blessings to You
So I would like to somehow pass on to you, the blessings and joy and hope that we received, that comfort us in our grief. May God keep us faithful to the end. May God help us walk in love, joy, and compassion always. And may God continue to equip and strengthen each one for His purposes until he calls us home.
My heart is filled with such love for you all,
P.P.S. Dad’s favorite song was Oh That Will Be Glory for Me (He sang in German, but here’s the English version):
When all my labors and trials are o’er,
And I am safe on that beautiful shore,
Just to be near the dear Lord I adore,
Will through the ages be glory for me.
Oh, that will be glory for me,
Glory for me, glory for me,
When by His grace I shall look on His face,
That will be glory, be glory for me.