I received a phone call from my son. My former husband’s mother, Carole, died in a car accident. His father, John, was badly injured but would be okay. A few days later, I received a phone call from my daughter. I expected the conversation to be about her annual birthday gift to me, breakfast in bed. Instead, she told me that my father was suffering with a stroke. “God, please!” I begged, “My heart is not prepared for this, so let my mind take over my body.”
God was faithful with my request. My dad was transported by helicopter to a hospital, 3 ½ hours away. My family was making arrangements to travel from across the United States to be by dad’s side. Early the next morning, my former husband called to tell me that his father, John, passed away in the middle of the night. He had stopped breathing. “ARE YOU SERIOUS?” I yelled at the phone almost accusingly. “ARE YOU SERIOUS?” my mind yelled accusingly at God.
I had to wake up my daughter so she could be told that another one of her grandparents passed away. She was devastated. That day I had a conversation with God. I told Him that I didn’t appreciate all of this tragedy happening at once. I asked that he Let me be strong for my four children. Again, God was faithful and my body took over while my heart was aching.
Then, I learned that my father had an inoperable tumor on his brain stem; there was nothing anyone could do. A decision was made to move him to Hospice and remove him from the life-support system per his request. From then on, his body slowly died. During this time I made several trips to the hospital. A few days later we attended John’s funeral. Afterward, I went back to the hospital again to spend more time with my dad.
In those emotional hours we sang worship songs to him and prayed over him. During a private moment while I was telling my dad a final goodbye, everything became very clear. God wasn’t punishing us with dad’s slow death. He was blessing us with time to say goodbye before He took my dad into His loving arms. And because of the sudden deaths of Carole and John, I was grateful for the blessing of time with my dad to say things to him that I might not have said otherwise.
At 4:00 a.m. I got “the call.” Dad had died. As I lay down and closed my eyes, God placed a “movie” inside of me. I was given a vision of my dad, very healthy and happy with his face glowing. He was being greeted by people that he knew and was handed a shimmering silver robe to wear as he entered God’s glorious realm. My dad was home.
This vision was unlike anything I had ever imagined on my own, and I’d felt a deep peace wash over me that I can’t describe with words. God heard my plea. He reassured me that my dad is with Him, and He gave me the gift of His peace.
“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
– Philippians 4:7 (NIV)
“Father God, You are so merciful, sometimes in the strangest ways, and in circumstances we don’t understand. Help me see Your glory in the trials and help me to remember that You are glorified by my trust in You. Lord, I ask for Your peace that transcends all understanding during this difficult trial of…”