Laughing At Death

15 02 2008

Ed BakerEd BakerLast night I was at the bedside of my father-in-law as he passed away.  My wife, Barbara, and members of her family, kept vigil throughout the day until he breathed his last.  While I could do without the months of suffering that preceded Ed’s death, I must say that I would love for my final moments to be just like his.

The day was full of family members stopping by to say last goodbyes and I-love-yous.  Amidst the tears, though, was laughter.  From one extreme to the next…  from sobbing to belly laughs.  Stories were remembered that created joy in every heart.  What a way to go!  Before the morphine of his last hours, I’m certain that Ed experienced the love in the room and was, for a moment, healed.

Ed BakerEd was a good man.  Kind heart.  Giving.  Caring.  And gruff.  His exterior belied the gentle soul within.  His life had been pock-marked with sadness, joy, disillusionment, and satisfaction. 

Now I want to tell you something BIG.  Something God-sized.  Something that reaches beyond the temporary illusion of the moment and spans the breadth of Heaven.  My wife prayed a BIG prayer for her dad.  She wanted him to know Christ as His Savior before he died.  Ed had been hurt by people professing Christianity but practicing something worldly, and had turned his back on the church for decades.  As Ed lay in that hospital bed over his final months, in and out of lucidity, the truth hovered over us all that he was fighting his last fight.  Barbara didn’t want to lose her daddy, but she knew it would be easier to let him go knowing that all was well with his soul.  Except, how could this happen?  We could never be sure that he understood what was going on – let alone our conversations with him.  So Barbara prayed.  And prayed.  She prayed that she would know for sure that her daddy had set things right with God.

Then it happened.  Last Friday we visited him and he was more alert than we’d seen him for months.  He couldn’t talk due to the trache in his throat providing breath from the ventilator.  But he spoke with his eyes, with his expressions, and with his hands.  Through tears, Barbara asked if he’d like to receive Christ into his life.  Yes.  He nodded yes.  And so we prayed with him.  He held my hand tight (a very unusual display of affection in our relationship).  He rubbed my fingers with his thumb.  And we felt the joy of Heaven all around.

That’s not the end of the story, though.  You see, throughout his hospitalization, Ed has not been able to remember what has happened from one day to the next.  But, the day after our prayer, he clearly communicated that he remembered our visit and all that transpired.  Those were his last communications.

Lord God, your faithfulness is great.  Morning by morning, day after day, new mercies I see.  Everything I need, You’ve provided.  Your faithfulness to me is so great.  Amen.




One response

22 02 2008

Praising the Lord with you for your father-in-law’s salvation.. what a blessing to know that he is with Jesus.

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