“Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures; yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.” (Psalm 90:10)
When I put my feet on the floor this morning, I wondered why I was feeling blue. The feeling lasted until this afternoon, when I realized: today is my father’s 80th birthday. He has been gone many years, not getting close to celebrating such a milestone.
Here I will tell you something I kept close and hidden for too many years: my dad was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic in 1977. Four years later, perhaps in that “moment of sanity,” he took his own life.
This afternoon, I made a decision not to be sad about it for the rest of the day, but rather to celebrate his life in the quietness of my own mind and heart. I also have another reason to wipe away the grime of gloom:
I will see him again.
King David, upon learning that his infant son had died, said that the boy would not return to him, but one day, he would go to the boy. He understood, with Moses, what it meant to “fly away.”
One day, known but to God, I too will fly away and when I do, my earthly father, my hero, will be waiting for me.
The non-religious scoff at such an idea. Yet I know what I know. Like nothing else—especially given where we are in history—the Bible’s predictive prophecy has proven to me in a bullet-proof way that Scripture is the very Word of God, and He said that He has magnified it above even His own name.
That’s good enough for me, especially now that I have lived longer than my dad. A few years ago, I was sitting by myself one night in the south end zone at the University of Oklahoma, a place Dad and I loved so much. At the kickoff, I said, to him, “I’m still here.” It was a way to acknowledge that I am still in the fight, but that one day I will join him and the terrors and horrors and death of this world will be a permanent thing of the past.
Humans, in order to accept God’s grace, have to “die to self,” as we like to say in the Church. We have to lay down our own arrogance and pride and tell him, like a child, that we need reconciliation with Him. Another of my heroes, Roy Rogers, once said that sometimes, it might hurt to do the right thing, but afterwards, you will feel better.
We must lay aside our pride in order to be free. The Word tells us that the fool has said in his heart that there is no God.
There is much sadness in this tired old world, and more it seems with each passing day. The Bible, however, is full of God’s promises. One of them is that in His time, He will renew all things. I am anticipating that with joy and excitement. One day, I will see again the man in whose footsteps I literally walked when I was a boy. He is real and he exists, just as much as I exist in this present condition.
When I was little, my dad had a workshop, so full of tables and tools and what-not that sometimes I didn’t know where he was; but I knew he was near. He kept a small bell on his workbench and always said, “If you can’t find me, ring the bell and I’ll come running.” What a lovely memory, made more so because he taught me that if we were ever separated, he was not gone forever.
In this world, many of us endure dry seasons, where we thirst to be reconciled to our Creator, because it is the only perfect relationship we will ever have. The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ, the Creator, is Living Water. The truth of the matter is, in the future, I will see Him face-to-face and in His kindness, He will stretch out a hand and let us see those who have gone on before.
When I fly away.