In March it was two years since my father died. He had cancer in the esophagus. It took nine months from he received the diagnosis till he passed away. He was not a Christian. There wasn’t a single work in his life that was carried out in God. He wasn’t a particularly good father, and an even lousier husband. My father smoked, and was addicted to pills and alcohol.
Several times during his sickness I urged him to accept Christ, but to no avail. However, two days before he died a priest came to visit him and the clergyman led my father to salvation. Those who were present recall the moment as holy and glorious. God’s presence was tangible, they told me.
Lately, I have been pondering his passing away and it strikes me how far God’s grace goes. This was a man who was in sin until two days before he left this temporal world. He had no idea about regular Christian terms such as holiness, righteousness or the renewing of the mind. Despite all his, he is now dressed in God’s glory.
As God has revealed more of the mystery, Christ in us, and also opened my eyes to the glorious truth that Christ is all in all, new light has been cast on my father’s life. He was God’s vessel to mould, amongst other things, me. God used his life to drive me into my heavenly Father’s arms. My earthly father’s conduct also taught me my first lessons about suffering. He was one of the factors which caused the depression – my dark nights of the soul – which altered the course of my life five years ago.
My father was God’s gift to me, because “All things come to me from my Father’s hand” (Matt 11:27). It pleased God to demonstrate His love towards me through all this, and when my father’s life had accomplished God’s purposes it pleased God to regenerate his spirit and take him home. “But they know not the thoughts of the LORD, neither understand they his counsel: for he shall gather them as the sheaves into the floor.” (Micah 4:12)
My awareness in recognizing that God is in all my life’s circumstances has increased considerable lately. This is a mighty work of the Holy Spirit in me. It enables me to recognize that my father caused me to die, and from my death and resurrection in Christ his new life sprang forth.