My Dad passed away several months ago. The pain and the grief I feel is beyond words. Our relationship was far from perfect. There were good times and bad times but at the end of the day he was still Dad. As one of his only remaining relatives I bore the difficult task of settling his personal affairs. I was at the bank to get some papers notarized, the teller read the heading of some of my documents and looked at me and said, “I’m so sorry for you loss. My Dad is still with us and I can’t imagine life without him.”
I could feel the grief and overwhelming pain I fought so hard to suppress bubble back to the surface. I swiped at my eyes in an attempt to stop the tears before they fell. Keep it together. I said to myself. Don’t fall apart. Not now, not here! I politely smiled at the teller as I forced the image of my Dad unresponsive in a hospital bed out of my head. The memory of our last conversation flashed before me and I thought, “Great. I could see the headlines now Lord; Crazy woman breaks down in bank! News at 11.”
Then I heard the Father say, “Share your story.” I asked the teller if is she was a believer and she said yes. I then told her that my dad was an unbeliever for as long as I could remember. A few months prior to his heart attack I was prompted to share Jesus with him. I’ve shared Jesus with him in the past to no avail. So I was hesitant when God asked me to do it again, especially since the last time I shared Christ with him, my husband and I got burned. God kept nudging so I said, “Ok Lord, don’t think I won’t say I told you so.”
Over the next few months, whatever Jesus revealed to me in the scripture, I would share with my dad. To my surprise he was receptive, he had questions, a lot of them and he didn’t hesitate to ask me. I would seek the Father, then I’d share the answer that was revealed to me. It was kind of strange at first, the roles were reversed. I was the teacher and he was the student. We even joked about it, but I knew God was doing something significant here because for someone reason my dad wasn’t letting this new dynamic get in the way of his quest for the truth. This wasn’t an easy task, my Dad said a lot of hurtful things to me and there was no apology from him in sight. Yet, I felt compelled to obey the prompting of the Lord and I held on to God’s promise that He alone will heal my heart.
During our last conversation, my Dad, the one who resisted my faith and relationship with God the most said to me, “I got it! I finally got it! Thank you daughter for the enlightenment.” That moment felt glorious and victorious, my whole being said “Thank you God, I guess you told me so!” We must have said I love you about five or six times and he promised to call the following week to congratulate my son on his high school graduation. That was a Tuesday. That Thursday afternoon I got a call from the emergency room, “Your dad had a heart attack, he may not make it through the night.”
It’s not easy losing a parent but what gives me strength and a peace I can’t explain is knowing that my Dad received the salvation of our Lord Jesus. My joy is that God used me, His beloved daughter, as a vessel to usher in that salvation. There were tears in the teller’s eyes. I asked her, “Is your Dad saved, has he accepted Jesus as His Lord and Savior?” She said, “I think so, but I plan to make sure. I can’t wait to share your story with my Dad.”
This is Love
I walked into that bank with the weight of the world on my shoulders. I walked out refreshed, lifted and comforted by Christ Himself. I believe this is what Jesus meant when He said, no greater love is this than to lay down one’s life for another. I was given the option to stay in that dark place or put my grief aside to give hope to another. In the midst of my “sacrifice” God took the grief I laid down that was so heavy and He gave me His cross, which was light. At least two people, the banker and her father, were blessed and I walked away comforted and divinely used by God. When you lay down your life for another you don’t lose anything you gain everything, you gain… more of Him!
It’s moments like these that cause me to fall deeper and deeper in love with Jesus, it’s why I’m still in Love after all of these years.