My dad, a man’s man. An excellent shot with a rifle earned him the nickname “hawk eye” while attending high school. A naval fighter pilot in WWII, he attained the rank of Lieutenant Commander. Following the war, he completed his education in dentistry.
My father and I were very close. I worked in his dental office for three years while in high school and reluctantly during the summers. Three weeks after graduation from high school, I moved away from home and began my college classes.
Just a few months into my first spring semester at college, I received the call. The call that I least expected. The call that no one wants to receive. A mole on my father’s back was tested and the results came back positive for cancer. The bomb was dropped and fear gripped me.
My mother and he would frequently drive 200 miles to Houston to be treated at the only cancer hospital in our part of Texas at the time. He would gratefully receive his high dose of chemotherapy to ebb the tide of the melanoma that was rapidly flooding his body. My humble, man’s man dad battled this fierce giant for about two years.
I was living in Austin and managing a clothing store. I recall this day as if it was yesterday. I had returned from lunch and the store was experiencing it’s afternoon rush, when I got a surprise visit from my employer. He had brought a car load full of new clothes to set out, when the phone rang. One of the sales girls answered the phone and beckoned to me that the call was for me. As I said the word, “hello,” in a rather questionable tone, I knew something was wrong because I rarely received personal phone calls. It was my dad. He never called me at the store. It was the middle of the afternoon, he would be working. He could hear the worry in my voice and prepped me for his news by asking me how my day was. Then, he said in a calm, almost monotone voice, that the cancer had spread to his brain. An ambulance was coming to transport him to the hospital; he was being admitted that very day. He told me that he knew he didn’t have long to live. Then, he began to speak words of endearing love to me. He expressed concern that he wouldn’t be there to walk me down the aisle and whisper in my ear that I was the most beautiful bride. The floodgates of tears opened and there was no damn to stop them. He said, “I know these things may be hard for you to hear, but I need to say them because I know I don’t have long. I want you to know how much I love you, how much you have enriched my life.” I heard those words and completely fell apart because I knew my actions and attitudes over the previous years, especially beginning with college, were anything but enriching. He even went into details of inheritance he had left me. He continued to pour out words of encouragement and love to me. These few minutes with him were by far the sweetest I had ever experienced with him, and I can tell you, I could have lived a life time on the sweet moments I had already had with my father. In his usual “thinking of others first” mentality, he knows he is dying soon and his mind is looming with thoughts of love and reassurance towards me.
A few days later, my mother called me at work to tell me it was time to come home. I packed up not knowing how long I would be gone. My boss gave me a leave of absence and I was on my way. Unfortunately, by the time I arrived at the hospital in San Antonio, my dad had already slipped into a coma. Within a few short hours, he departed this world, within the blink of an eye, arrived in the presence of the Lord of life.
What a gift my father had left me…words of love, encouragement, and life. Words he knew I would never forget.
My father expressed his love to me in spite of my actions that were so unloving at times.
How much more has God expressed His love towards us in spite of our sins that are against Him by sending His only Son who paid the ransom for all our sins; past, present and future!
My father showed his love to me in expressing his concern that he wouldn’t be there to “give me away” on the day of my wedding.
How much more has our heavenly Father shown and expressed his love and joy in presenting us, the bride, to His son, our bridegroom, on the day of the wedding supper of the Lamb!
My father had no thought of himself, his thoughts were of me.
How much more has our heavenly Father’s thoughts been of us through His plan of salvation and the obedience of His Son’s death on the cross!
My father poured out words of love and life to me.
How much more has our heavenly Father poured out His words of love and life through sending His son to speak His words of love and life and leave His Words for us in the Bible!
My father encouraged me even though he knew he was dying soon.
How much more has our Heavenly Father encouraged us through His Son and the gift of the Holy Spirit! Even from the cross while Jesus was suffering and His death was imminent, He took care of the needs of his earthly mother. Then following His resurrection, the Father sends the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, to dwell in every believer to teach, encourage, and convict us of sin.
My father reassured my future by providing an inheritance for me.
How much more has our Heavenly Father reassured our future through His inheritance to us! The Father provided eternal life bought through the blood of His only Son. Jesus also described a portion of our inheritance in heaven as an encouragement to his disciples and to us; the glorious inheritance of the saints.
Beloved, our heavenly Father’s love far exceeds anything we could ever experience on earth, but I am thankful for an earthly father that was not only a child of God, but a father who knew the importance of expressing and showing his love to me. He poured his love out to me and also expressed The Father’s words of love to me. He was a beacon and reflection of my heavenly Father. Thankful! So thankful to God for my earthly father and my heavenly Father!