Goodbye for Now

My dad has been the inspiration for several of my posts over the years. It should come as no surprise that even in death he inspires me. One week ago today we had the privilege of saying goodby for now as we celebrated his life in a send-off fitting a saint. He ran the race well and finished it strong and is now in a place he called home. Dad was truly homesick for Heaven.

In the whole process a couple things came to mind. There was a great outpouring of sympathy for the family with nearly everyone in the final viewing line telling us how sorry they were. While I understand the sentiment, I wondered if they had heard the same eulogy I heard. Dad’s entire life was based around the Christian faith and hope that death was merely our transition to the promise of eternal life with Christ. Anyone who knew dad knew how long he had suffered. We could not comprehend the pain he endured daily with little complaint. Only hourly doses of morphine gave him comfort in the end. Dad dreamt of the land described in Revelation 21 where every tear would be wiped away, and there would be no more death or mourning, no crying and no pain. Now he is there, one more saint watching out for us from a heavenly vantage point. There is nothing to be sorry for. Yes we’ll miss him until we arrive but we rejoice that he no longer suffers in the arms of his Savior.

Another thought I had regards the usual cliches often expressed at funerals. They are the feel good cliches, we’ll see him again, in a better place, God needed angel, etc.. Dad would be the first to tell us death is not a free pass to Heaven. You don’t get there simply by living a good life or by knowing a Christian. Salvation and redemption does not come by proxy. You have to have a personal relationship with Christ based on your confession that he is Lord. We can’t pray someone into heaven who lived a life of denial of Christ. Dad was the real deal. He taught us Christ, showed us Christ and lived out Christ everyday of our lives. We will see him again because he left us a legacy of faith and a clearly marked path to follow. Its with confidence that we hold to the promise that to be absent in this earthly body is to be present with our Lord.

Up until the day before dad passed he was highlighting scripture in his Bible. The Word was his key to heaven and he was anxious to open the door. The empty place he leaves behind on earth is only a reminder that he finished the course and has graduated with honors. He was ready, we’re ready. Are you?

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