For me, Father’s Day is going to be even more special for me this year because my dad is here. Six weeks ago, we were faced with the very real possibility that he might not be. Walking through this storm with my family has changed the way I look at things—it’s given me a completely new perspective on life.
Going through something hard changes the way you look at the Lord. I’ve seen people live out the truth of “praising God through a storm.” I’ve watched people praise the Lord through really difficult things like the death of loved ones, or battles with cancer, or just really horrible, traumatic situations—and I’ve wondered if I could do that. Could I praise God in a storm? Would I? In fact, I’ll admit, a part of me has been fearful that God would put me in a stormy situation to see what I would do.
Storms are a part of life though. And just like the weather can change abruptly, life can too. That’s exactly how all of this happened: fast. My dad was just going in for a check-up. He was having some diagnostic tests done to determine why he had been having some shortness of breath recently. We were expecting the doctors to confirm our guess of asthma, but instead, they told us that Dad’s main artery was 90% blocked. They admitted him to the hospital immediately and scheduled his surgery for the very next day. The fact that this blockage was caught was a miracle in and of itself. Doctors told us that if Dad had had a heart attack, which he would have if he hadn’t gone in to see what was causing his shortness of breath, he wouldn’t have survived it.
Now, just to give you some history: My dad survived colon cancer 13 years ago. The week all this happened, he had an appointment to see his cancer doctor to have a procedure done. But because the heart issue took precedence, he cancelled that procedure. Now, what ended up happening was that after the open heart surgery, he had some complications and had to have the procedure done anyway—just a few days later. But his surgeon told me that if he had that procedure done, as scheduled, without knowing about the heart condition, he would never have survived it. God’s provision, grace, and mercy were never so real to me. His divine timing, and his care for my dad were so clearly evident, saving his life not once, but twice, in the same week.
I will not die; instead, I will live to glorify the LORD. (Psalm 118:17)
While in the moment of facing one surgery and then another, my dad’s will to live and his attitude was so amazing. He told us the Lord had lifted him up, and he was going to fight. During this time, my sisters and I came across this verse: I will not die; instead, I will live to glorify the LORD (Psalm 118:17). Together with my dad’s wife Rhonda, who never left his side, we prayed this over my dad before and after his surgeries. Every day, we prayed this over my dad. We can’t see things from an eternal perspective, but this verse gave us hope that Dad would make it, and that the Lord would be glorified through it.
Dad was doing so well, and then within a week’s time, he got MRSA, double pneumonia, and a blood infection. We only thought we had been scared before. Now, everything pointed to him not making it, not ever leaving the hospital. Faced with that reality, everything stops. Those weeks were literally a roller coaster. But God in His goodness preserved Dad’s life and provided for his healing.
As horribly difficult as these last six weeks have been, I got time with my father that as an adult I may have never gotten. When I was in the room with him, we would just read the Bible together. I would read aloud and pray with him. I have some of the most precious memories of that quiet time of being with him. And you know what? As horribly difficult as these last six weeks have been, I can honestly say that I got time with my Heavenly Father that I would have never gotten had there not been a storm, and had I not run to Him for shelter through the storm. Watching the Lord at work, as Healer, Redeemer, Restorer—seeing His goodness and His loving care for us—well, I hate that my dad had to suffer through this, but I know that the Lord has been glorified more than we could have ever imagined.
My dad is a follower of Christ, so I know where he is going when he dies. But I’m not ready for him to go yet, nor do I think I will ever be ready for him to go. There are so many things I want to do with him and things I want my kids to be able to do with him. I don’t know what the Lord’s plans are, but I know that this Father’s Day, and every day, is so much more precious to me now. When my son prays for his Papa, he says, “Lord, please don’t take Papa to Heaven yet, because I want to play with him.” Me too, son. Me too.
In what ways have you seen the Lord glorified in a situation that you never thought would bring about something good? If you’ve seen God’s redemption and His glory revealed because of a storm you’ve been through, please share your stories. I can’t wait to hear them!