Remembering My Father

My father passed away Valentine’s Day, 1998. It’s been seventeen years, but it is still fresh in my mind.

Though he died on Valentine’s Day, it doesn’t make Valentine’s Day sad. It simply makes it a special day to remember and reflect.

At the time of his death, a friend told me the time would come when the mourning would end and we would simply remember the wonderful joys and blessings we had. I have experienced that, and I do rejoice in the good memories.

We still grieve over some things. For one, I truly wish I could tell my father about my grandchildren. He died before any of them were born. He would have loved seeing his three great-grandsons and he would have adored his great-granddaughter. I would really like to be able to pick up a phone and talk to him about my life and what’s happened over the years.

That’s the trouble with grief–there is so much unfinished.

As hard as it seems, God uses our grief for our good. This happens in a number of ways.

First, the trials and hard times of life work to perfect our character. James told us to count our trials as joy because of what God would use them to accomplish. “For you know the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete lacking nothing” (James 1:2-4).

Even Jesus experienced testing. He went into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan. His test was not to see if He would fail, but to show that He would have the victory. Our testing has the same purpose.

Second, some things only come to the forefront through trials. My dad had surgery at UAB in Birmingham and I drove my mom and dad home. The result of the surgery meant that there was nothing more medically to be done. On the way home, we experienced a time of tears and rejoicing. My dad, so reserved with his emotions, told my mother what a good wife she had been and how he loved her. It was a special time.

Third, trials show us the deep meaning of Christ’s death for us. Because of His resurrection, we have the hope of our resurrection as well. Even now, I know my father is in the conscious presence of God and we will be reunited because of the work of Christ.

Paul expressed it so well: ” So we do not lose heart. . . . For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, because we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4: 16-18).

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5 Responses

  1. I lost my dad 12 years ago and yes it still hurts sometimes. I wish he would have seen my transformation into a strong Christian. Suffering indeed brings us closer to God and he uses those opportunities in our fallen world to bring us to him.

  2. Great thoughts on the grief process AND a memory “tickler” for me when you mentioned your Dad. Three days before Valentine’s Day last yea (February 11, 2014)r the SECOND greatest deacon I ever knew went into the presence of the Lord: My father-in-law, E.J. (Jay) LaCoste. A few years earlier, August 4, 2000, the GREATEST deacon I have ever known passed into the presence of Jesus, Lonnie Wascom Sr., my dad. I am a very rich man because of the gift of those two men in my life. Not one day passes without something coming into my mind whereby I say to myself, “I would like to talk to Dad (or Jay) about that . . . “

  3. I lost my father and brother a year apart (2005 and 2006). My dad had Alzheimer’s so I truly had gone through the grieving process even before he died — although that did not stop me missing him. I lived about 1,300 miles from my brother so while we did not see him more than two or three times a year, we did talk on the phone. For months after he died, something would happen and I would head for the phone to talk with him, only to realize we never would talk again this side of Heaven.

    But I firmly believe that the Bible is literally true and I take solace in Hebrews 12:1 which tells us we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses so we should lay aside the baggage that slows us down and run with perseverance the race that is set before us. Because there is no sorrow in Heaven, they cannot see me mess up but I believe those loved ones are able to see my successes.

    Teaching at Liberty University, I am able to encourage many students who are hurting that they have many fans in Heaven who are cheering them on to victory.

  4. Thank you for this post, Waylon. Today was a very nostalgic day for me, don’t know why they just show up every now and then. I appreciate you sharing your memories of your father.
    My day ended with someone giving their name out a restaurant, you said him his name was Marc, MARC and that’s exactly what my mark would’ve done, I think God gives us those moments to give us a peaceful rememberance of our loved ones each day.
    Thanks so much for your heartfelt post.

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