In December 2006, my dad was involved in a serious car accident, one that left him paralyzed from the neck down. Unfortunately, I couldn’t rush right over. Due to Ted’s job relocation eight months earlier, our family now lived over 400 miles away. I was unable to visit him as much as I would have liked to. All I could do was pray. So, I did.
Looking back, I see how God’s Hand was directing the whole scenario. My dad needed the Lord, and it wasn’t until he was bed-bound, unable to walk and function normally, that God got his attention.
I was able to drive down for a four-day visit in early March. I realized that this might be the last time I would ever see my dad alive—his condition had begun to deteriorate. I had been praying for my father’s salvation for nearly twenty years, ever since I came to know the Lord. There had been opportunities, but this time was different. The burden was greater; the urgency more pressing.
When I arrived at the nursing home with my two young daughters, my mom was quick to scoot out and take them on a shopping spree. Little did she know that the time alone with Dad would be invaluable. Mom wasn’t comfortable discussing spiritual subjects, so her absence gave me more liberty to speak to Dad about an important subject.
Over the next few days (and repeated Grandmom/granddaughter shopping ventures), I had the chance to discuss many topics with Dad. What do you think heaven is like? Are you angry with God? What were you taught as a little boy? Did you go to Sunday school? These were some of the most cherished discussions I experienced and will never forget.
My final day to visit Dad fell on a Sunday. I attended the worship service at our former church, praying and weeping at the altar for my dad’s soul. Today HAD to be the “day of his salvation.” God gave me great peace that day, as well as great boldness. I was on a mission. I felt strong and confident, knowing that the words I spoke were that of the Holy Spirit.
It was a very basic conversation between a father and daughter. Yet, I was speaking to one of a child-like faith–my own father!
“Dad, I have to leave tomorrow. I’m not sure when I will see you again.” “Dad, we are all going to die someday.” “Did you know that you can make a decision now, in this life that will determine where you will go after you die?” “I know that when I die, I am going to heaven. So is Ted and our children.” “Do you want to know how you can be sure of the same fact, Dad?”
A pause. Then, a firm nod of the head, conveying the invite to continue with the presentation of the Good News. Oh! What precious Good news it is!
Eyes wide and blue, looking directly into mine, “Yes. Yes, I would, Karen.”
It just all sort of gushed out of me: John 3:16, Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23, Romans 5:8 and Romans 10:13. The wonderful words of life! The redemption promised through the shed blood of God’s Only son. It never loses its power….
As I recall the moment even now, the tears I shed are those of great joy and relief. I know that Dad accepted Christ as his personal Savior that day, and I give all the glory to God.
A few weeks later, my dad passed away from complications. What reassurance I had, knowing that he was home in heaven. No more suffering, no more pain. God was faithful to answer my prayers. Since then, I have continued to pray for other loved ones, desiring that they too will have the same opportunity to hear the truth that can set them free. To be saved means that we/you/I are no longer under the bondage and captivity of a sin-stained heart; God’s forgiveness is rich in mercy and love–unlike anything we’ve ever known.
Miracles do happen. April 17 is no longer an anniversary of a death–it is the day that my Dad stepped into heaven for all eternity.