My Dad went to the hospital today to have a test done on his heart. Right in the middle of it, his heart went crazy and they had to use the paddles to revive him. Tomorrow he will be receiving a pace maker/difibulator to help the electrical impulses be strong enough to make his heart beat correctly.
I guess in the scheme of things, a pace maker is not a major operation. So maybe I have not much reason to be overly concerned. But I am a Christian. I know that a man MUST be born again and my Daddy is not. The thought of my Dad coming so close to eternity without Christ is just crazy frightening. After he's crossed that line, there is no return, there is not reprieve, there are no more chances to get right with God. There is only eternity.
I've talked to my Dad about Christ before, but he attends a church that has caused him to believe that if he goes to church, says a prayer of confession every Sunday, gives some money to the church, prays a little prayer every night before going to bed, and lives a life full of good works, he is fine. And he has done all those things, and done them well. He has been a good father, a good provider. He sacrificed his time and money to make sure that his children had every opportunity that he could possibly provide. He was a faithful husband and son. In most ways that the world would judge success, he would be considered successful.
Unfortunately, he has totally missed the Biblical fact of his complete and total depravity without Christ. He does not understand that all the good works he has done are as filthy rags to God. He doesn't get it that the only thing that God is satisfied with is Christ and that for God to satisfied with us we must be found dead IN Christ. I've tried to tell him, but the unwise words and action of others who have gone before me have tainted his ability to really listen and consider what I have to say. And possibly some of my own actions and words have hurt as well when I've allowed my desperation to overcome my faith and patience.
I can't explain how I felt when I heard how close to leaving this world my Daddy came today. It almost felt as if I was having a heart attack myself. In my mind, I know that the grace and comfort of God would have been mine in abundance, but the thought of my Daddy in hell is more than I can bear.
The Word says that we, as Christians, do not mourn the same way as the world mourns, but if a Christian loses a loved one to hell, I can imagine that their mourning would be the worst kind of mourning that there is. The unsaved mourn because death is so final and unknown for them. The redeemed mourn more for themselves than the redeemed one who has passed from this life to the next. Our mourning does only endure for a night, but joy comes quickly as we anticipate that the next meeting will mean that we never have to say goodbye ever again.
But the greatest finality comes when two people who have loved on this earth pass, one to eternal life, the other to eternal death. There is an impassable gulf between the two which can never be breached for all eternity. Our chances to secure eternity in heaven are gone--forever.
As I sat and pondered this tonight, I looked towards the mountains. "I will lift up my eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help? My help comes from the Lord...." I can honestly say that the sunset tonight was the most beautiful I have ever seen. The sky looked as if it was on fire! Above the skyline, the clouds feathered out like fingers as if God was telling me that He has my world and my life in His hand. I sat and watched until the sun was all the way down and as day sunk into night, I prayed for my Daddy and I thanked God for being my life, my hope, and my future.