Give & Take Away
Job 1:21 The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away; blessed be the name of the Lord.
Yesterday my dad went to be with Big Poppa in the Sky. He was comfortable and surrounded by loved ones. It’s never easy saying goodbye, but we feel incredibly blessed by the support of those around us, the richness of dad’s life, and the circumstances of his death.
My wife Elaine is a hospice care doctor and in that capacity has helped many patients go through their last days. She was reflecting yesterday that some go suddenly, leaving family members with a sense of unfinished business, and some go slowly often leading to long drawn out periods of pain. But somehow God gave us a good couple of years to prioritize spending time with my father, and yet that time was remarkably pain free for a cancer patient undergoing chemo and immunotherapy.
His condition really started to deteriorate when we touched down in Los Angeles earlier this month. Some might see that as unfortunate timing, but we know that God is never early, and he’s never late. He’s always on time. The fact that we could all be together to support him in the process was an incredible blessing. The fact that Elaine was around to guide us through the tough conversations proved invaluable. She flies off in a few days so we actually had a very short window where everyone was here, and somehow God chose to bring Dad back right in the middle of it. Cosmic…
Whenever he thought about his grandkids, my dad would smile ear to ear with this expression that beamed “how could I be so lucky?” My mom said that in her prayers she saw him with that same expression as he went to be with the Lord.
Bill Johnson once said that in heaven it will be easy to worship God. There is no death, no disease, no destruction… The presence of God will be so thick that every creature has no choice but to sing praises. As his father sat on his deathbed (he also went of cancer), Pastor Bill had this thought that “on earth, we have the privilege to worship and thank God, even in the midst of difficulty. That is something that is unique to our experience on earth, and in a strange way perhaps is something to be treasured.”
Am I sad? Yes of course. I’ve cried a lot over the past days, weeks and months. I’m going to miss my dad so much. While I’m yielded to God’s plan, I also prayed for complete and supernatural healing until the last breath. Then I prayed for a resurrection from the dead even after his last breath. It’s hard to let go, but it’s also a unique privilege to praise and thank God in times like these.
Lord, I love you. Thank you for your goodness and your mercy. Thank you for a father who exemplified your love to everyone around him. You give and you take away. Blessed be your name.