Early Friday morning, my father-in-law lost his fight with liver cancer, but he received a one-way ticket into the Presence of our Almighty Father. Today, I have spent time thinking and praying about what I might say on Friday, for his service.
If you know my wife, you won’t be surprised for me to tell you her dad was fun to be around. He and I played golf together, traveled with Cel, Celia, our kids, and the rest of our family. We spent long weekends and holidays together. It was always fun to be with Joe. He loved his house packed with kids and grandkids.
He loved to be home. We would play golf at Hamlin Country Club or hunt around Hamlin. Joe was a great hunter, and a great golfer. Just this Spring, he shot under his age. Several times I thought I had finally beat him only to see him make a long putt or chip in once or twice in the last few holes to beat me…again. And the trash-talking never stopped. In the field, he would inform me I was “a hunter”, but he was “a killer…trained by the U S Government.” He was always competing, always wanting to win, and pretty much always winning.
I love Joe. I say love, and not loved, because of a hope I have, a hope we shared in the promises Jesus made us. We will see one another again.
After His resurrection, Jesus spoke to Mary, whose eyes were filled with tears. She was so upset she didn’t recognize Jesus initially, but when He spoke directly to her, she immediately responded to her Master’s voice. She knew Him by His voice.
When we get to heaven, I believe we will be known by our loved ones, and we'll know our family members. I will see my father-in-law again. At that time, there will be no more goodbyes, no more sorrow and no more pain.
Our enemy threatens us with death. He is always trying to lead us to a place of separation, fear, and loneliness. Our Savior, though, told us He would never leave us, and we could come to Him and find eternal life in Him. When our time comes, He will come for us.
“Don't let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father's home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am." (John 14:1-3)
Promise after promise are given to us in His Word, so we will know, we are not alone, and GOD is always with us. Many verses in His Word point to the idea that we will be together again.
“I know The LORD is always with me. I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me.” (Psalm 16:8)
Even when I walk through the dark valley of death, I will not be afraid, for You are close beside me. (Psalm 23:4)
Joe faced prostate cancer about 8 years ago. Up until that time, Joe ran his life the way he saw fit. He loved God, believed in Him, but didn’t pursue a relationship with Christ. Overwhelmed by his circumstances, Joe got down on his knees and cried out to God. And Joe found the peace promised to us.
God didn’t hold it back because it took Joe a long time to come. He didn’t ask Joe to explain 60+ years of his life or fill out an application to determine if he was qualified. No, Jesus just met Joe on his back porch with His unexplainable peace. Joe’s life began to be transformed. We noticed his love for Jesus, he began to read His Word and Joe got involved in his church. We saw God change him.
We serve a patient, slow to get angry, full of unfailing love Father. I saw Him deal graciously with my father-in-law. Our Father will do the same with you and your loved ones.
I cannot wait to see Joe again, with Jesus.