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The Father's Love for Lost Fathers

As a little girl and as a teen, my dad was a bigger than life kind of guy.

My dad was the kind of person who could strike up a conversation with anyone. He would joke around with everyone he spoke to no matter where we were. This trait was embarrassing to my teenaged self. But as I grew up out of teen self-consciousness, I marvelled at Dad’s people instincts; he was very good at reading people. I guess that is what made him such a successful salesman. Dad, the son of immigrants, achieved the American dream and I admired him for his hard work and successes.

At home, Dad was not as funny as he was “outside”. He was very strict. The same gift he had for reading people, caused him to make snap judgements about people and ideas. This was equally uncomfortable for me in my teen years and even as an adult.

When it came to my belief that Jesus is the Messiah, we Jews had been looking for, Dad’s snap judgement was “I never want to hear about it”! Many are the stories I could share about the harsh way Dad treated me when I was first a believer. At that time, I didn’t realize Dad’s harshness was his reaction to the Lord. I really thought it was about me.

While Dad didn’t agree with my spiritual choice to follow Jesus, he saw the changes it made in me and my life. Over time, Dad softened towards me and even towards, Jesus. He would politely and respectfully listen when I would talk to him about God. And, when he experienced someone demonstrating Christian love towards him, Dad was sure to let me know.

For these reasons and more, Dad remained a “bigger than life” kind of man – even in his passing.

It was 2009, I received an unusual phone call from my brothers. It was unusual because all three of us were on the line together. My brothers had both been to see Dad in the hospital in Florida where he had been staying due to his recent fall in a parking lot. Dad had been suffering with heart issues for a while and now he had broken his hip. Not a good situation for an 88-year-old. My brothers told me, “It was time”; I needed to see Dad as soon as possible. I felt the urgency and told my brothers, “You know what this means, don’t you? He is just waiting to see me...”

I flew from Omaha, NE to Florida as soon after that conversation as possible. Immediately after landing I went straight to the hospital for a quick visit. I promised Dad I would be back the next day. That night I was talking to the Lord about my dad’s salvation and what to do when I saw him the next morning. I felt God direct me to sing to my dad. I was to sing all the Jewish songs about God, in Hebrew, I could think of as well as the Shema (the watchword of the faith, “Hear oh Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One). And even to sing “Christian” songs that were about the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Fairly early the next morning, I arrived at my dad’s room and went straight to his beside. Dad was alert, so we talked. I called both of his grandkids, my children, to speak with him as I held the phone up to his ear. When that was done, Dad seemed to be tired, so I began singing just as the Lord told me to do. At a moment when I was quiet, a nurse came into the room. He looked around and asked the aide that had been hired to sit with Dad who was singing. I looked over at him and responded, it was me. At that point, the nurse explained to the aide the reason I could sing was because I knew Jesus who was the only way to the Father and anyone who believed in Jesus as the Son of God would go to heaven. And just as suddenly as this nurse appeared, he was gone. I was blown away at the goodness of God to send an angel to preach to my dad, one more time. (Yes, as I write this, I am more sure than the day it happened, it WAS an angel.)

I continued to sing and to speak to my dad. Finally, I realized my dad could barely keep his eyes open. I said, “Daddy, you know how you love to dance? (I was thinking of the many memories of my dad dancing with my mom and teaching me to dance.). Well, Daddy, we will dance when I see you again.” And with that, my dad, closed his eyes never to open them again on this side of heaven.

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