Here I stand, looking down upon the man I have looked up to all my life. My father, a giant in the faith and a mountain mover in terms of prayer, has been reduced to flesh and bone. They say death is the great equalizer, I beg to differ. Death may put you on the same level with all those that have died before but for some, the fall is greater than it is for others. All I have left is a mother who refuses to shed a tear for the husband she loves. People have come over to try and comfort her but she’s the one who has ended up comforting them. She says that she will waste no tears because she has a firm faith that she will see him again when our saviour comes. She is unwavering in that belief, and that makes me wonder. Yes he was a giant in the faith but who can speak for someone concerning their salvation. It takes great confidence to speak for oneself, and even greater confidence to speak for someone else. I can’t even speak confidently for myself.
They say death is the great equalizer, I beg to differ.
That’s not to say I didn’t have the right upbringing and exposure to our God. Like I said, I am the son of a giant in the faith. He carried out his duty well as a father and a priest in his home. My mother always ready by his side to hold up his hands should they get tired. It was so great to witness how they worked together concerning the Lord’s work that I stopped being a participant and became a spectator. And so began the undoing of my confidence.
Before my alarm rang at 5:30 am, my father would have risen from his bed, washed his face, headed to the family room and loudly started to sing hymn 524 from the hymnal. It was his favorite song to start morning worship. He didn’t mind singing the first verse alone but everyone needed to be by his side and wide awake for the second verse and the rest of the devotional. Our presence was not the only requirement, we had to be there with a sharp mind too, because there would likely be a pop quiz at the evening devotional. Wednesdays were reserved for prayer meeting at church. Sometimes it would be just our family and the pastor there. If the pastor couldn’t make it, it would be just the four of us, mom, dad, my brother and I.
We were enrolled at a Christian school and before we were school age, my parents made sure that our kindergarten teacher was a baptised Christian in good standing with the church. They left nothing to chance. They were always very intentional about their actions and decisions. Even things that seemed spontaneous were precalculated weeks in advance. A prayer was said at the beginning and end of every trip, even to the grocery store. Some would say he was a fanatic but his response to that was always that he knew that every breath he took was borrowed from God, so he saw no reason not to give back as many of them as he could while he could.
As much time as I spent with dad doing ministry, as many places as I went with him and as much as I would like to spend eternity with him and the family in God’s presence, I can not say with a certainty that I will. Up until now, I’ve been living on borrowed faith. Piggy-backing on his prayers and hymns. I’ve been more of a fan cheering him on rather than a player on the field. That’s why I have a difficult time wrapping my head around my mother’s conviction, her 100% certainty that one day she will be in heaven and so will he. She boldly proclaims, that she is a Christian. My father too could boldly proclaim that he was a Christian. Even my younger brother has that firm faith and conviction, yet all I can say with total assurance is that I am the son of a Christian, a giant in the faith. My father could ask me to accompany him on his evangelism trips, or to follow him to prayer meetings, even to go with him on visitations and I would gladly say yes. When the roll is called up yonder, and his name is called, I cannot stand up and answer with him. Everyone who is called will be by name and not by title so there will be no way I will enter the Holy City at the call of “Son of a Christian.”