Those of you who have followed my blog from the beginning will remember that not long after I began blogging my mom became ill. Many of my early blogs were journals about my struggles with her physical decline, impending death, and my desire to honor and glorify God and how I cared for her until the end of her life.
Today marks the five year anniversary of her death and I find myself on the cusp of losing my father. He is very old, 92 this past November, and his decline since my mom's home going has been noticeable. His most recent health scare is with pneumonia and dehydration. This has taken a lot out of him physically and mentally. Despite the excellent care that my sister provides for him, illness and death are just a part of life under the curse (Genesis 3).
When people we love are suffering we want it to stop. As I see my dad suffering the loss of the dignities and the friendships that he has left it is natural for me to long for his relief and end to suffering. I am grieved as I watch my his body break down and his memory fail.
Like it or not, we will all most likely face the end of this life and have an entrance into the next one. What concerns me regarding my Dad is where he will enter.
My father is a "good" man, and a kind man. He was faithful to my mother their 62 years of marriage. He raised us all well. He was always "good." Even at 91 years old he was helping the widowed neighbor women by snow blowing their driveways in winter. He donates to the poor and the unfortunate and has always given to his church. Even though my father has heard the gospel he does not have a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. My father has religion not relationship. He is unfortunately resistant to the Gospel. His moral life and his religion have insulated him from his true need for the Savior. He believes he is okay. He believes he might go to heaven when he dies because has lived a good life and been a good man and by human standards he has.
My father has religion. He knows God. He has been in church his whole life. My mother belonged to the same religion, and in her later years came to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. It was with joy that I was able to release my mom into her in eternal state. Death held no fear where she was concerned for the moment she left this earth she entered into glory and met her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In that I greatly rejoiced!
I cannot say the same thing about when my father leaves this earth. I cannot at this point righteously hope and pray for him to enter eternity as I could with my mom.
For the non-believer there is no eternal rest so it is difficult to wish and hope and pray for an expedient end to the suffering we see our loved ones bearing here. For the non-believer, the suffering they endure in this lifetime is without comparison to the suffering they will endure for all of eternity. It is in fact cruel to hope and long for the relief from suffering here knowing that they will enter the kind of torment that is clearly described in the Bible- the kind that is reserved for those apart from Christ.
My hearts desire for my beloved father is that before he takes his last breath he would come to know Jesus Christ as the only sacrifice acceptable for his sin. If he refuses to accept the true Gospel, our parting will be with great and devastating sorrow.