Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Dad chose Jesus

For the past 3 and half-ish years, I've been asking "why"... why did Dad die? How could Jesus take him away from us when He knew how much we loved him? Why didn't God intervene and raise Dad up and make him whole in this world? I've spent more time than I should have asking these questions and yes, at times, doubting God's love and goodness.  What I've come to realize is this; God didn't "take" Dad...

My mom shared a story with me and at the time I was like, "yeah, yeah, Dad chose Jesus...duh, that's why he's a preacher" but as that story has replayed in my mind over the last few years it finally sunk in...

My dad was always telling us how much he loved us - we never doubted his deep, abiding love for us. Mom was telling me about a conversation she and my dad had many years ago before I was born. She and Dad were talking about ministry and he expressed to her how much he loved her and what she meant to him then he came the "BUT"... "but if I ever have to choose between you and Jesus and what He's called me to do, I'll choose Jesus." At first thought, I was offended that Dad would say that to her but then I realized that's what God calls us leave ALL earthly things/people/places and follow Him. Dad loved Mom and me with ALL of his heart...but his first love was Jesus...just as it should have been. I realize now, that my Dad didn't love the things of this world - he loved people and his desire was to lead them to them the hands, feet and heart of Jesus to all he encountered.

As I reflect on those words, I am reminded again that Jesus didn't "take" Dad from us...Dad CHOSE to go be with Jesus when given the chance. I shared this thought during the service dedicating the library at Cornerstone Church in Dad's memory. I had never really thought of it nor did I plan to say it, but God gave me those words in that moment and my mom repeated my words back to me at a moment when I was again questioning, "you should listen to your own words sometimes." LOL  My Dad made the choice to go and be with Christ - face to face.  This Savior whom he'd preached and taught about, this Father whom he'd loved wholeheartedly and served so faithfully - when given the opportunity to choose between this life and the next...Dad chose Jesus. He had made that choice long before that November day when he stood on the cusp of eternity. He chose Jesus and he followed after Him with reckless abandon in life until the day the Father scooped him up and carried him to Glory.

My Dad left me more memories than I could ever write down or tell but the most important thing he left me and all who knew him, was a legacy of love and faith. I knew my entire life that my dad loved me more than anything in THIS world. It made me strong, courageous and confident. How much more strong, courageous and confident I am in the love of Jesus Christ!! My dad didn't just tell folks to "lay down their nets" and follow Jesus...he showed them how to do it and do so with joy!

In the words of "Kojak", "who loves ya,baby?" The answer to that question is God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit! He chose to love us even while we were yet sinners...WHO WILL YOU CHOOSE? I CHOOSE JESUS!

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