What father’s day is to me.
It’s a day of rejoicing for me that not to many people can understand, especially when they realize that my dad, my earthly father, went to be with the Lord almost 3 years ago. Some people might say that he’s passed, or that he’s gone, or that he’s dead, or that he’s not with us anymore, or something like that. Whatever the words may be, the truth is, he went to a homecoming like none other here on this earth. The Bible says, “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord”. When Jesus was hanging on the cross He told one of the criminals hanging with Him, the one who believed that he was the Son of God, “To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43.
My dad’s funeral was an emotional nightmare for me, but not as some would think. I don’t believe I shed one tear. I remember at the cemetery hugging my Mom and saying something like, “he’s in a better place” and possibly shedding a quick tear then. Was I cold, or did I have lack of feelings? Was I numb from the whole experience?
What I was feeling was quite the opposite of what some people would think. You see, in my spirit man, I just wanted to shout, and to jump for joy at the fact that my Dad was in a place as John the revelator described as, “a place with no more sorrow, no more pain, no more tears”. (Rev. 21:4) And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. Paul wrote in 2Corinthians 4:18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things that are seen are temporary; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
You see I was in conflict with flesh and spirit. At the funeral home before the viewing my mother, one of my brothers, and my uncle were choosing between caskets and ornaments for the corners of the casket. They asked my opinion about the casket, which I gave, but the corner ornaments they knew not to ask me because they knew my stand about idols. I so badly just wanted to scream but held my peace. There were many other situations which I faced that were conflicting with my spirit, and I so badly just wanted to celebrate my Dad going to be with the Lord but was warring with other spirits. I don’t expect you to understand totally or agree with me. In the spirit I could see my Dad in heaven while others only saw a lifeless body and a Catholic priest trying to forgive the sins of a dead man, which according to the word of God is blasphemy. The Bible says no man can forgive sins.
My heart was actually aching at my Dad’s funeral because most everybody there didn’t have an assurance that if they died, that they would have a place in heaven. Now their faith for heaven was uncertain, or they truly believed that they would get there because of who they know, or because they weren’t as bad as most people, or by certain rituals they would do. Galatians 2:16 says, “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ…for by the works of the law shall no man be justified”. Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God; Not of works, lest any man should boast”.
Even though I saw his body lying there lifeless, I knew that he was walking the streets of gold, with jasper walls and pearly gates (Rev. 21:18-21) and a mansion was being presented to him as Jesus promised (John 14:2). I’m sure my dad was marveling at the fine details and perfect quality of construction because he was a carpenter and a builder and even more. He saw perfect miter cuts and the straightest brickwork he’d ever seen. Grout laid perfectly and measurements so exact that no human instrument can measure the accuracy. The finest materials beyond imagination were used and he checked everything out and was in astonishment. It was like nothing he’d ever imagine and more beautiful than words can describe.
He then realized that he could think clearer than he ever could before. You see, the devil killed my Dad with brain cancer, but Jesus reversed the curse of death 2000 years ago. Jesus died so that my Dad could live. He also realized that he had absolutely no pain anywhere in his body, and that there were no more burdens of this world weighing him down and causing ulcers. No more bills to pay, no more broken things to fix, no more doctors visits, no more breaking hearts. And then he realized that one-day, his wife on this earth would be there too, his children, his grandchildren, his brothers, sisters and so on…
The Lord of Lords and the King of Kings greeted him. So did loved ones that got there before him, and he could hear the angelic choir singing with the sweetest sound he’d ever heard, “blessed be the Lord of all creation”. But then he also realized that there were people that passed before him and that they were not there. You see they didn’t believe that Jesus was the only way to heaven. The Bible says that “there is only one-way to thee Father and that’s by His son Jesus”. Jesus said “no man comes to the father except by me”.
I miss my father very much. I miss being able to call him up and ask his opinion about something that needs fixing or just talking about something he’s been working on. I miss just sitting around with him and not really saying anything. I miss having meals with him. But I know that one day I will see him again. Why, because I believe that Jesus died for my sins like he did. I believe that Jesus rose from the dead and is now seated at the right hand of God in heaven like my Dad did.
Sure, I miss him more than anyone can imagine. But I stand on the word of God. You see the word of God teaches us that when we loose our earthly father for whatever the reason, either through death or just through absence, that God himself steps in and takes over. He is our comforter. He is our provider. He gives us peace in the midst of a storm. He is a father to the fatherless, a husband to the husbandless.
Father’s day to me is knowing that my dad is in heaven. It’s knowing that God is watching over me and protecting me. It’s knowing that I have a great responsibility to the family He gave me, to be the spiritual head and spiritual leader of my family. I have three children and three grandchildren that God has blessed me with. Nobody really knows how hard it is to be a step-dad, to raise and to provide for someone else’s children. I count it a blessing. God chose me to be a father. And as a father, it is my responsibility to explain to you about salvation and the ways of God. I want to know with certainty today, that if I get to heaven before you, or if by some reason you get there before me, if the Lord delays His return, that I will see you again in heaven.
(Read to my family in church).
Elder Steve Smith