A friend of mine called me to ask if I would give a devotional or a word of encouragement to a local Friday morning group. I told him, “No, I am just depleted. I am on empty.” He understood and did not press. We went on to talk of other things…but I felt the Lord […]
These past weeks I have sensed a crowd gathering at Heaven’s gate in anticipation of my Father’s arrival. What excitement and eager anticipation on both sides. As the book’s title says, “Heaven is for real”. And for those who have put their faith in Jesus as their Savior, Heaven is where we will spend eternity. My Father is there.
My youngest daughter said she would love to be a fly on the wall (surely there are no flies in Heaven!) when her Daddy Bill met Jesus. I thought about that. I doubt it was really any different. My Father has been walking with Jesus for so many years… I imagine they hugged deeply as Jesus whispered, “Well done my good and faithful servant”. It was a brother greeting a brother, a Father welcoming His son… The familiarity had long ago been established.
And no doubt, it was a battle-scarred warrior returning from the front to lay his victory at the feet of his King amid great celebration. The warrior claims no honor for himself but gives it all to his King. Many have commented on my Father’s great humility. It was because he understood his mission – it was not to amass the world’s acclaim or admiration or fame. It was not go gain wealth – that was one of his fears. It was to do his Lord’s bidding. It was not to build a kingdom but The Kingdom.
So many have commented to me that my Father’s reward will be huge in Heaven. No doubt it will be. But perhaps not as we would reward – for the vast crowds that came to hear him preach or the thousands who responded to the invitation to receive Christ. God doesn’t see things as we do. God rewards faithfulness, not numbers. My father will be rewarded for his faithfulness just as the fireman who showed up day after day, or the nurse, or the teacher, or the janitor. No matter what our task, when we do it as unto the Lord faithfully, day after day, whether we feel like it or not, God sees and God will reward us.
The big change is that my Father will have no limitations. His body will be strong and young again. All the travelling and preaching took its toll – for years. He said he never felt the same after the 1957 New York Crusade in Madison Square Garden. The reunion with family members will be sweet since here on earth he was so often unavailable to them. I hope God gives my Mother and Father 1,000 years to be alone and enjoy each other. (There was never any privacy here on earth.)
People have speculated about my father’s wealth and, imagined a fortune. Things did not interest my father. He was able to live comfortably but simply for a man of his stature. Though some would consider him a celebrity he considered himself a simple farm boy from North Carolina. His tastes were simple. He loved hotdogs and beans out of a can. He was easy to please. After my Mother died, we went to the house to begin the process of sorting things out. We went room to room. When we got to my Father’s room there was very little of value only sentiment; books, photos, childish drawings from great-grandchildren – not much of worldly value. My sister, Anne, looked around the room slowly and said, “A man of God values little the things of the world.” My Father was a man of God.
But now he has entered the Presence of the One he served. We rejoice that he fought a good fight; he finished his course; he kept the faith and there awaits for him a crown of righteousness.
We will miss him. Most of us have never known a world without him. In a world bereft of courageous, true, honorable men– he was one. I was blessed to call him, “Daddy”.