Saturday, June 15, 2013

IF DADDY GETS THERE FIRST



Our family. I'm the youngest on the bottom right. My scanner isn't working correctly, but I used this anyway.



                              FATHER’S DAY: REMEMBERING DADDY
I wrote this years ago when it appeared my Daddy, Joe Marion Nicholson, was dying. As our family prayed, God brought him through this crisis. He had prostate cancer and it spread to his bones. Tests showed it even was in his skull. Our main prayer was that God would take away the pain and wouldn’t allow him to suffer.  Although he didn’t fully recover his health, if I remember correctly, he took only one radiation treatment. He didn’t like the side effects.
“I’ve lived a good life, so at my age I’m not going to take any more,” he said.
Amazingly, though, even when he was no longer able to care for himself, he had no pain and the physician said there was no cancer.
Daddy was a strong man, steady in his beliefs, and righteous in the way he lived. He became a committed Christian about the time I was born—the eighth child. He loved the Word of God, listening attentively when Mama, and later my stepmother, read at devotion time.
He wasn’t that talkative, but I learned as adult when Daddy spoke usually it was with wisdom. As a child, I knew when he said “no,” that was final.
In order to feed and clothe our large family, he worked hard. In Kansas either during the Dust Bowl or during the Great Depression (before I came along) they needed firewood. He knew of a large tree stump nearby and went out with ingredients for homemade dynamite—something containing salt peter. He was pounding the dynamite into the stump when it exploded, sending a large splinter through one of his eyes.
Daddy was blind in that eye as long as I knew him.
But that night I sat in the hospital waiting and praying with my sisters, I knew his spiritual eyes had been opened years before and when his earthly life was over, He was going to the place prepared for Him by God’s Son, Jesus Christ.
Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:1-3).


                              IF DADDY GETS THERE FIRST
I sit in the waiting room at the hospital in Grand Junction, Colo. The sound of air circulation through a ceiling duct and nurses chatting at a nearby desk are the only night sounds.
The room is small.
Down the hall in Room 137, my father awaits surgery on his arms because he broke both of them in a fall. The surgeon says the bones in his arms are “honey-combed” because of cancer. He hadn’t been able to walk for a couple of months before he fell.
My insides tremble when I think of him lying on the white hospital bed—pale and gaunt—the sparkle in his eyes fading.
Will he survive the anesthetic and surgical trauma? Will the man who provided the food and clothing for me throughout my single life still be there tomorrow? The man, who possesses such strong character and faith in God; who had seen his family grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ?
It is at times such as this that I groan and cry for the redemption of the body Paul talks about in Romans 8:22-24.
How does one give up a loving father; Right now, as the lump in my throat makes it difficult to swallow and tears blur my sight, I can’t give him up. But I can let him go into the presence of God and wait there for me to join him. He was on earth before I got here. It must be all right for him to be in heaven before I get there.
He didn’t need me before I was born, and he won’t need me when he leaves this earth.
But I need him. Mother has been gone 21 years. Both my husband’s parents are gone. We’re the youngest children of both families and when Daddy is gone, there will be a great void.
I have memories, though, if God takes him. I have a heritage given to me by both my mother and father that will live on after the grave has snatched them from me.
From their graves, even, parents will have influence on me and through me.
Yet the grave will be only a symbolic display to humankind that my parents moved elsewhere. It will be like the shell left behind when the chicken hatches. My parents will not be in the ground; they will be in the presence of God, just as the thief who repented on the cross before he died was with Jesus that day in Paradise.
Even so, my mother and father will return with Jesus Christ to unite with a resurrected immortal body to house their spirits. Death will be swallowed by life (See 2 Corinthians 5:4NLT).
The Bible says, “But I would not have you to be ignorant brethren, concerning them which are asleep that ye sorrow now not even as those who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with
a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trump of God’ and the dead in Christ shall arise first.
“Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air” and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17).
I find comfort in those words. Whether we live, or die, we are the Lord’s--and that includes my daddy.


© Ada Brownell June 2012