|My late beloved father, John Murphy, on one of his beloved tractors. 1932-2016|
To everything under heaven there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven.
A time to be born, And a time to die.
Ecclesiastes 3: 1-2a
I have been putting off writing this post. I mean, how could I even begin to convey what a whirlwind of a month it has been? I feel ten years older and when I look in the mirror, it seems confirmed.
A phone call, a race to the emergency room to a major trauma center, days and nights in the waiting room, listening to the doctor's rounds as the prognosis becomes grimmer and grimmer...and then, making the excruciating decision with my family that according to his wishes we should let him go and not continue to suffer. Finally, after singing, kissing, rubbing his hardworking hand I watched his chest rise one final time and not breathe out. Dad's time under heaven was over, and he was transferred to his heavenly domain.
One minute my Dad was an energetic, even vibrant 84 year old man. The next time I see him, he is telling me he is dying. I said, "Daddy, no you're not," But in my heart, I knew he was right.
In a moment our lives have been turned upside down. I had so much admiration for him and was proud to have been his daughter. His wonderful career as a Professional Engineer, all the accolades for his pulls, and pristine antique tractor restorations suddenly became unimportant in the light of life and death.
Mom is having trouble comprehending why this happened. If only he had not insisted on going out to hunt for that deer. She tried to tell him not to go, but he went anyway. He didn't mean to fall off the tree stand or to shatter his spine and break just about every rib. Sure, he would not have gone if he knew that was going to happen.
But the Preacher of Ecclesiastes said there is a time for everything under heaven, even a time to die. No one wants to think about our future date with this event, but unless the Lord calls us up in the rapture, we each will have our own individual appointment with this time under heaven.
The most important thing was not that Dad could have avoided falling, but he had made sure that his soul was ready for that appointment, whenever it would come.
In just one single moment of time, Dad placed his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, trusted that Christ had paid for his sins and that Christ was the risen and triumphant Son of God.
In that second, Dad had a heavenly hope. Sure, Dad rose from poverty to a life of ease in the life he built for us all in his successful career. But he knew that there was something beyond this life, something beyond having a comfortable life, a life in eternity with the Lord Jesus.
Once, when I was a little girl, Daddy and I talked about salvation and I knew he wanted to talk to his aging mother about his faith. His mother lived far away in a nursing home in Iowa. He stopped there on the way home from a business trip. That night, as we sat on our old red couch together, he suddenly trembled, with tears welling up in his blue eyes and said, "Megan, we shared words about God," and broke down crying. I never felt closer to him in all my life at that point than I did at that moment. I'd never saw him cry before, my world travelling father with such a demanding career. I started to cry too as we hugged each other, realizing this life is only a temporary stop on our way to a permanent home in the heavenlies with our Savior.
He realized what was really important in life. As time wore on, Dad became more and more outspoken in his prayers and sharing with others. In retirement years, he and my Mom started each day with devotions and prayers and he donated generously to the Gideons, knowing the great importance of sharing God's Word with a lost and dying world.
I know that nothing, nothing, would make my Dad happier than knowing even one person would also come to believe in Christ as their Savior as a result of hearing this sad, but hopeful story. Though it was my dear father's own appointed time, if the story of God's free gift of salvation is shouted forth to the world, he and the angels will rejoice.
Verily, verily I say unto you, he that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life. John 5:24*
And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him who is athirst come. And whosoever will let him take of the water of life freely. Revelation 22:17*