by Pastor Tim Burt
The story I am sharing with you may have been the most precious day of my life!
It Thursday was morning, August 30th, 2013. I had an early morning Dr. Appointment. It went well and I was in and out quickly. As I was leaving, I had a thought, “Call Dad and take him out to breakfast.” My day was somewhat unscheduled because Renee and I had originally had a vacation planned for this week. We had to cancel it because she needed to meet her sister and brother in Atlanta to help make plans for her father’s future. He had some medical issues and they met to help. Consequently, it left me with a week off that was unscheduled and alone at home. So… I called my dad and he was excited to go. “I’ll be there in 15 minutes to pick you up.”
My dad was 90 years old. He was in good health, swam three times a week, and often played golf with us on Thursday mornings when we could all get it together. He was one of the happiest people you could ever meet and had a sense of humor that was hilarious. He never failed to make us laugh whenever we were with him. Oh yes, and he was a father of ten children! He worked so very hard all his life to provide a great life for his family.
I picked dad up and we went to a local restaurant, ate breakfast, and talked and laughed for two hours. We talked about everything, but one topic was more dominant in his conversation than anything else. He talked about how thankful he was. He said, “It might appear that I don’t notice all that you children do or have done for me these past years. But, I’ve noticed everything and I couldn’t be more thankful. I have the most beautiful family of anyone I know. I love you all and appreciate so much what each of you have done to be a blessing to your mother and me. When she died a few years back, you all helped me through a difficult period of life. And you’ve been so supportive to love and be helpful to me. I thank God for all of you every day.” He then told me that he prayed for each of us by name daily – all 9 living children, 21 grandchildren, and 16 great grandchildren (plus the couple babies in the hopper.) That touched my heart in a way that is greater than I can describe. For dad to be this reflective was unusual but surely delightful to listen to. What was behind this unusual mood he was in?
When I brought him home he was happy, singing, and appearing to be on top of the world.
Later that evening about 9:30 pm I got a call from my sister. She told me that dad had collapsed, possibly had a heart attack, and that I should come down to the hospital. Dad had lost consciousness, and never regained it. We met has a family, and knew it was time to let him go as his health had started to deteriorate this past year. He had made it clear to us that he did not want to continue to live if his quality of life were to deteriorate. After a few hours, he stopped breathing on earth and took his first breath in Heaven. This man was loved by everyone and we will so greatly miss him.
After many tears, I could not help but reflect on how God had ordered my steps and graciously given me this special time with my father. It was a gift from God for sure. It was a morning I will never forget.
Renee was not with me because as I said, she had to go help her father in Atlanta. When we were approaching this vacation week, it began to unravel. Sometimes you don’t know if there is something God is doing in your midst, or the devil is trying to steal something from you. We prayed and bound the enemy of our soul in prayer in Jesus name. Then we trusted that in the midst of this interrupted week, God would reveal his ordered steps, showing us His plan for the week.
I thank God we didn’t try to “fix” the week ourselves and fight to keep our vacation. We could have but felt that God was doing something that we needed to trust Him in. We cancelled it so that she could go to Atlanta instead and help her dad. I stayed home to help my son landscape his new home. And then I was around to have that breakfast with dad that I felt prompted to have. In hindsight, though we didn’t know what was going down, God knew every step. Psalms 37:23 (NLT) says, “The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.”
Sometimes we complicate things. God teaches us to pray over every situation in faith asking Him for what is in our heart in line with His will. Mark 11:24 (NIV) says, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” And, 1 John 5:14-15 (NKJV.) “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.”
He then told us not to be ignorant of the devil’s devices. 2 Corinthians 2:11 (MSG) says, “After all, we don’t want to unwittingly give Satan an opening for yet more mischief—we’re not oblivious to his sly ways!” And so we bound the devil from trying to steal our vacation. As it turned out, God was leading us to be available to help our parents and lead us in every step.
Trusting God can sometimes feel unnerving when you are not sure of the next step, but, if you trust Him and continue to pray, He will lead you step by step. And you will see the fruit of trusting in Him!
In closing, “I love you dad and will miss you more than I can say…” “Jesus, I love you so much and thank you for guiding my every step and giving me this special time with dad! You are more awesome than I can say. Though I don’t always know what the minutes and days ahead hold, I am thankful that you do and I trust you in them! ”
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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