What a wonderful Father
Having been intimately involved in a number of deaths now, I've
always found it strange that the world carries right on, often without a jolt,
when someone departs this life. Another thing I've noticed as well is that
thinking and reflecting become a major part of the day as we come to terms with
the fact that the dear one is no longer part of our everyday existence.
When I look back over the last three weeks since we got the
news of Dad's translation to glory, all I can see is an overview of blessing
after blessing and after doing a lot of thinking, I realise why those blessings
were there waiting for us.
From the time we were small children, Dad and Mum brought us
up to believe in God's love and faithfulness to us, even if we weren't
always worthy of it. (We were assured that nothing was too big or too small to
commit to the Lord.)
When my husband, Dennie, and I felt the Lord was leading us
in the direction of serving on the Doulos, I remember thinking occasionally, I
hope I never get bad news while I'm on board the ship because I need to be
somewhere where I can go for a walk and think things through on my own.
Blessing no.1 -– we were in the country near Johannesburg,
South Africa, when my brother called with the news, and I had plenty of space to
walk, pray and cry in.
Blessing no.2 -– we grew up with the Word of God read to us
at least once but usually twice a day in family devotions, whether we wanted to
hear it or not. Imagine my amazement when I was walking and I heard Scripture
after Scripture pour from my own lips, bringing comfort to me from God's Word.
If it hadn't been faithfully put in by my parents, it could never have come
Blessing no.3 -– we had no money but as a family we knew
that it was imperative for my mother that we all go home to New Zealand. Faith
for the plane fare for me is one thing but faith for an entire family of six is
another thing. However, once again, we had been brought up to believe God's
promises which include Philippians 4:19 -– "But my God shall supply all
your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." So, the
family got down to some serious prayer and by ten a.m. the same day, people had
rung and pledged what was necessary to get us home.
Blessing no.4 -– because it was school holidays, the first
confirmed flight out was four days later and any earlier flights only had two
seats available. We told the children this and started praying again. My 8 year
old son's lips were moving continuously throughout the day and when I asked
what he was doing, he replied, "I'm just asking the Lord for another four
seats." The next day when my husband rang the airlines again, they reiterated
that there'd be no way that we could get seats at this time and then halted
midstream while looking at the computer and said, "Hold on, you've just been
confirmed on the flight for this afternoon!"
Blessing no.5 -– we had enough money to get to New Zealand
but none to fly the 500 miles to our home but when we arrived, once again, the
Lord had graciously provided the money for the last leg of the trip. This also
included valuable time for a visit to my grandmother who never expected to
outlast her son. She has always helped me in coming to terms with the death of
loved ones through her own example of dependency on God.
Blessing no.6 -– I had been nervous that we wouldn't get
home in time to follow the extremely important (for me anyway) Polynesian custom
of dressing Dad's body. However, because he was overseas at the time of his
death, it took a week for his body to come home and we spent this time adjusting
to him being 'absent from the body, present with the Lord' and then it was
with great joy that we welcomed his body home together.
Naturally, there has been a lot of reflecting about him,
memories being revisited, favourite jokes being retold, stories about his many
mishaps laughed over (he was very proud of these) and of course, his passionate
love of his Saviour.
It came to me the other day that the greatest legacy he left
us was our relationship with the Lord and this is borne out by Psalm 16:6 -– "The
lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage." In
simple English, this means that the Lord has been good to me in my life and
because of my heritage of God-fearing ancestors, this has been the result.
The many blessings that we have received over our lives have
literally been the bonuses of this heritage and it excites me that the blessings
I described earlier came to us because of my father's walk with the Lord and
the Godly inheritance he left us.
I will never again underestimate what the Lord will do for my
descendants as a result of my love for Him.