I find it normally easy to write devotionals and poems when I am stressed and under attack. Yet, this is season where I have found myself at a loss for words. I feel just pressed on every side. Pressure and change have really been nothing new for me over the past 3 to 4 years. Briefly looking back: My wife was diagnosed with bone marrow cancer; she began chemotherapy (which changed our lives); she was hospitalized; she became paralyzed from the cancer in her spine; I then lived the life of a single parent of 5 boys with married responsibilities; I became a widower; I battle with depression and thoughts of suicide – OK, that’s enough of to give a perspective. I’m not going to get stuck in my past. Now, my father has become sick and I find myself wrestling with thoughts of losing him too. The Lord clearly reminded me not to mourn him. Yes, my dad is still alive and alert, but if you just went by when you saw – I would be counting down the days. 2 Corinthians 5:7 (NLT) is a great reminder: “For we live by believing and not by seeing.” Just reading and writing this now allows me to breathe a lot deeper… easier. “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” (Heb. 11:1). This is where I hang my faith. Where my hope lives. How I leave my concerns and fears at the Lord’s feet. Where I realize that no matter what happens, it’s out of my hands. But, it’s in my Father’s hands.
I took my youngest sons to see their grandfather. There was such an awkwardness to the visit. I had such vivid flashbacks to their visits to see their dying mother. In both visitations, the expressions on my young son’s faces were of wry smiles and glassy eyes. As they gave their “see you later grandpa” salutations and hugs, my son Rhyen could no longer hide behind his smiling mask. He broke down in heavy sobbing, gripped my arm, and buried is head in my stomach. “I don’t like seeing grandpa like this. I want him to be all better” he kept repeating as I held him in the doorway of my dad’s room. His little brothers stayed in the hallway and tried to console him. I asked Caeden to get him some tissue, and my dad asked what was wrong. I explained and he told me to tell Rhyen that he would be alright. As I wiped Rhyen’s tears, I asked him to give his grandfather another hug and tell him what he told me. With childlike obedience, Rhyen went back inside his grandfather’s room, looked him in his eyes, and told him that he was praying for him and did not like seeing him like this. He wanted him to get well. My dad looked Rhyen in his eyes and said “I appreciate your prayers. I will be alright. I love you and am so proud of you.” Even if these are not the last words Rhyen ever hears from his grandfather, they will be among most lasting. I know they were to me.
We need to give flowers to people while they yet live. We don’t know how much time any of us have. The last time you saw or spoke to someone could really have been the last time. It’s out of your hands. What was your last encounter like? What were your “famous last words?” (Prov. 18:21).
Lord, thank you for this day that you have made. I will rejoice and be glad in it. I may not like the day or how I feel as I move through it, but I know that you are in control. I surrender my thoughts, feelings, cares, and concerns over to you. Your word says to cast our cares on You because you care for us. And for that, I am so thankful and grateful. Please be with me Lord as I go today. Let me feel and know that You are ever present with me. Give me your peace right now Lord. Have Your way in my life today. In Jesus name, amen.
- 2 Cor. 5:7 (NLT) – For we live by believing and not by seeing.
- Heb. 11:1 (NLT) – Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.
- Prov. 18:21 (NASB) – Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat of its fruit.