Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Never a doomed man

Just something I felt moved to share:

In Februrary 1998, my father died of cancer. For 3 months before that, he spent his last days at home with his family thanks to the local Hospice program. He knew he was going to die and that it would be soon, but at no point during this time was he ever a doomed man. Never. Why? Because he had the assurance of salvation and eternal life through Jesus. Death and pain stalked him every day, but he did not fear them. He looked them right in the eye and knew they had no power over him because he was a Christian. His faith in and love for Jesus was displayed more profoundly than I had ever seen before, and I now truly believe that Jesus' love for my father was equally displayed. When he died peacefully early one morning, my mother was right there beside him, too. I mean right there. She was moistening his lips, which were very dry because he was in a coma, when he smiled and then died. I have no doubt that it was not a coincidence that he died at that moment. Through thick and thin, good and bad, they were together because they were joined as one through God.

I was not a Christian at that time. In fact, I was an atheist. I had no belief in God. Those 3 months changed me, however. My father's memorial also had a great impact on me. Hundreds of people attended - the church was literally overflowing, and it's not a small church, either. It was really astounding to see all these people - some of whom barely knew my father and some of whom had not seen him in years - come from far and wide to bear silent witness to the love he showed people. That love was, of course, a reflection of his love for God and was the best witness for his faith.

Because of all this, I began to re-examine that which I had rejected for so long. I opened my mind and heart, and I came to question and then reject the beliefs I had as an atheist. From "the Bible is full of errors and contradiction" to the claims that Jesus "never existed" and "was a copycat savior," I found it all to be lies invented to justify unbelief and reject any critical thinking about Christianity. I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior and was baptized ("dunked") soon afterwards.

Death stalks me, too, as it stalks everyone. I don't know when, why or how, but I will die someday. But like my father, I am not a doomed man.

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