This is what I wrote for my dad's memorial service on Good Friday.
I Assure You
Over the last year, we’ve watched Dad struggle through this time of battle with his body. The last month proved the hardest. We hated what he went through. To see Dad in so much pain made us want to scream out, “enough, please! Deliver him, Lord.” When we fell in weakness, God gave us His strength. In our doubt, His faith anointed us and gave us hope. Not in any one person, treatment, or cure, but in the One our Hope rests—our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And he who promised was and is faithful.
Many of you prayed diligently for Dad’s healing, believing fully that God would restore him. And although selfishly we would have loved to keep him around many more years, the Lord did heal Dad more fully than we can imagine. He’s alive, restored, and surrounded with complete love and joy. And for that assured truth, our spirits leap even if our hearts ache.
Many of you have told me what a great man my dad was. I assure you, no one knows it better than us. Many of you heard him lead from the pulpit, but we saw him lead from home, and I assure you, there was no difference between word and deed.
How does one condense a relationship of 31 years into a few concise paragraphs? He was a man of simple pleasures. We always said Dad’s catch phrase was “pack light.” Sometimes Dad would pack for a vacation and keep it so minimalistic, he’d sometimes forget the essentials, like socks or deodorant. He didn’t overcomplicate life and sloughed off the dramatic. He kept a short list of grievances, forgiving wrongs and moving on. Over and over he’d tell us kids how he loved us and how proud he was of us; it wasn’t something we only heard once or twice but over and over again. He enjoyed working hard and resting fully. When we were old enough to help out, Dad gave us responsibilities at home. Every week, we completed our expected chores, which included helping him in the garden as well as feeding the chickens. If we wanted to earn extra money, we could refer to a chart Dad organized and work for our pay. Everything we earned had to be divided up into tithe, savings, and spending money. Even though Dad taught us how to budget, he loved to give. Dad was always taking us on family outings and vacations. He wanted us to experience things and enjoy life together. He made sure we had that special family time every week. He was especially good at lavishing gifts on Mom. When they got married, my dad gave Mom a piano as a wedding gift. And several years later, for my mom’s 50th birthday, Dad bought her a baby grand, fulfilling a dream of hers to one day own one.
And he knew how to love her well. I never heard my dad speak a harsh word to Mom. They just didn’t fight. He’d often tease her, but never with cruelty. Humbly he’d often seek out her opinion and direction, respecting her thoughts and feelings over the big decisions as well as the little ones. My brothers and I could often find them kissing. I remember many times Dad would even dip Mom and kiss her. Toward the end of Dad’s time on this earth, he struggled to communicate, but he still managed to blow Mom kisses and wink at her from across the room. Despite his pain, he wanted to make sure she was okay and often told her to rest.
Making sure others were taken care of was Dad’s primary concern.
Aside from his great love for his family, Dad loved the Lord and that love permeated everything he did. Even before we could read, Dad had us memorize Bible verses. Aside from John 3:16 and John 14:6, I think “children obey your parents” was the first one. In the evenings, he would read a Bible story to us and daily he blessed his children with prayer. Even when Dad’s body started to fail him and he wasn’t able to hold a Bible, he would pray. Even when he couldn’t manage to read the words, Dad would sing praise songs. One day when I was sitting with Dad, he started humming Bless the Lord, Oh My Soul. Nothing could have sounded sweeter. Together we made a joyful noise to the Lord.
I will miss making donuts with Dad. I’ll miss his knee-slapping laughter. I’ll miss sitting on the beach with him, just talking about life. I’ll miss his wise and practical advice. I will miss more than I can list here.
Dad led an incredible example here on this earth. His legacy will reach far beyond what we can even see now. But Dad would be the first to tell you that his goodness was nothing compared to the holiness of our Awesome God. The Bible says our righteousness is as filthy rags. But… but for the grace of God. We live beyond this world because of the sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf. Today, Dad walks in everlasting joy and peace because he was covered by the blood of Jesus. And for those of us who have accepted that incredible gift, we also will join Dad when God calls us home. Of that, I assure you.