Dad, If I Could Talk to You, I Would Say. . .

My father died suddenly of a massive heart attack on May 23, 2014. We  talked some a week earlier at my daughter’s birthday party. We had a good time. In light of Father’s Day being only a few days away, as I mourn the loss, I find myself longing for a few minutes of conversation with him. “If I could just talk with him, I would tell him how much I appreciated him.” I’ve told dad in the past of my appreciation for him, but I question if I told him enough, and if I told him enough recently.

Thus, what follows is what I would say to dad if I could have a brief conversation with him. This exercise is for me and those who have fathers who are still living. If your father is still living, you have an opportunity to tell him how much you appreciate him. Don’t wait! You can tell him “enough” and tell him “enough recently.” This article is not for my father, for he’s enjoying His Lord at King Jesus’ table today in Heaven. My earthly father has reached the goal, Heaven with Christ, and he now needs nothing, including the thoughts of his son.

Dad, if I could talk to you, I would say. . .

Thank you for reading the Bible in front of me when I was a young boy. Some of my earliest memories are of you reading the Bible in your spot on the couch. I read the Bible every day in part due to your example.

Thank you for dragging me to church. I hated going to that boring place, but you made me go. I was loved by Christians there, and taught the word of God there. I’m a Christian and a pastor today partly because of your demand for your family to worship the Lord every Sunday.

Thank you for teaching me that you need Jesus. Due to your sin, you were not good enough to earn God’s favor. You needed Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. You needed Him to forgive you, to save you from the Hell you deserved. If you needed Him, then I knew I needed Him as well.

Thank you for helping others in private. You’ve helped numerous people who were less fortunate than you over the years. You never trumpeted your good deeds, but I overheard many of them. Through your example, I learned that I too should help others.

Thank you for teaching me the importance of honesty and integrity concerning vocation. You worked hard, and you always gave your best. I remember one time when I went to work with you when I was a teenager. We were putting baffles in a new house so you could blow insulation in the attic. Due to us cutting the baffles, there was cardboard everywhere. Many who had already worked on the house had left their garbage behind, but you insisted that we clean up our mess. I was angry because I was ready to leave. We cleaned up our mess together, and I learned a valuable lesson. What others do is not our standard. We must be obedient to the Lord regardless what others do. We work for God, not man.

Thank you for praying over my ministry when I preached at your church. I was in my early twenties, and your pastor had invited me to preach. When you prayed before the love offering, you wept as you prayed for God to bless my ministry. Your approval encouraged me to continue in gospel ministry.

If I could talk with you, I wouldn’t speak of your sins and shortcomings. Now that you’re gone, they seem strangely small and insignificant. . . for they lay in the grave where we placed your body. When that body rises, it will rise anew; it will rise glorified in the likeness of your Savior, Christ’s resurrection body. Because of God’s grace, you will return with Christ to rule and reign forevermore! Hallelujah!

Comments

  1. Adam Blosser says

    Thanks for sharing, Jared. I hope we will see more of you around here now that your 2nd VP duties are over. ;)

  2. Christiane says

    May Our Lord comfort you in your loss, JARED. Very sorry to hear this news. I will keep you in my prayers on Sunday.

  3. Dwight McKissic says

    Jared,

    Where there is a healthy relationship between a father and son, it is a blessed gift from our Heavenly Father. Your dad’s home-going is quite recent, therefore, still fresh.

    I sat in your seat in November ’97. God comforted me with the words of Jesus; where He said: ” I will not leave you orphans.” The Lord spoke to me through those words and made it clear that every ministry and benefit that I received from my earthly father, I could and would receive now from the Holy Spirit. Presence, peace, joy, pardon, forgiveness, provision, guide, teacher, encourager, comforter, partnership, fellowship, communion, conviction, correction…you name it…. Jesus said, when the Spirit come, we would not be left orphans. May the precious, promised, powerful, ever present Holy Spirit, now do for you as Jesus promised… not leave you an orphan. Be encouraged and Happy Father’s Day.

    My email is: dmckissic@cbcarlington.org
    I would love to visit with you by phone at your convenience.

  4. Dwight McKissic says

    Jared,

    I also meant to say, that we actually receive a whole lot more from the Holy Spirit than we do our earthly Father. For in His presence there is fullness of joy and our joy is complete. The Holy Spirit ministers to us in every way that our Daddy’s did be in a perfect way, and he addeth no sorrow with it.

    • says

      Jared
      I was blessed to be able to sit by Dad’s bedside, hold his hand, and talk and sing with him when he close his eyes an went to be with his Savior. You have some rough days ahead, I know. But my brother you are also in store for some wonderful moments in the years ahead as you reflect on your dad knowing what a precious gift he was to you.

  5. says

    Jared, thanks for sharing. It was my pleasure to pray for you and your family when I first heard of your father’s passing. God bless you, friend.

  6. William Thornton says

    I regret that you lost your father when you are still young but it’s in Gods hands not ours. Having lost, and then having presided over the funerals of both parents within the past five years, I share your loss and you have my sympathy.

  7. dr. james willingham says

    My Brother-in-Law and sister were there in the hospital in Conway, Arkansas, when my father died. My sister called and told me that he was dying. That happened nearly a decade ago (it will be at the end of July and the funeral was the first week of August). Not all of us had happy childhoods with our parents present to help us grow. My sister and I were deprived of both parents when I was about two months shy of being four years of age. Talk about grief! Our grandparents did their best, and we did eventually live for a few years with our mother and her second family. Divorce and remarriage changes things in this world, and the experience of such will not enable one to evade and avoid such things from happening again. Even so, the Lord has a higher design in such sore sorrows. My Brother-in-Law who wrote above of sitting with his father was present to encourage and help my sister and myself in our loss as he was in the loss of our Mother and her family in ’72. I find comfort in the fact that the worst evil that ever happened in human history, indeed, the most terrible sin, the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ, turned out for the greatest good as Romans 8:28 implies. Even so the same must be the case for such losses that we all suffer in this life.

    In the Fall of ’74 I wrote a paper for doctoral colloquium on that tragedy, and the students in the class, who were for the most part liberal, to say the least, jumped on it with words of censure and condemnation. According to them, “God had nothing to do with it.” Then Dr. Ed. Pruden who had been President Truman’s pastor spoke up. He said, “I don’t know but what I agree with Mr. Willingham. I had a son attending Campbell College who lived in off campus housing. One night the space heater leaked gas, and he was asphyxiated. If I did not believe God had control of that situation to make it turn out for good, I don’t know what I would do.” Needless to say, perhaps, but he saved me from a many a verbal wound that day.

  8. says

    Jared, I walked a path similar to yours many years ago and most of those steps are still freshly planted in my heart. I appreciate your willingness to share your heart; I am proud of the leader you have become. I remember how proud I was when three young men at the church where I was interim accepted the opportunity to intern. You guys still make us proud!

    • says

      David, thank you brother. I hope we three interns (pastors now) continue to make Gum Springs and the believers who invested in us there proud. As the Holy Spirit works in us, we’re continuing to build on the foundation you helped build.

  9. says

    Jared, thanks for sharing this. I could thank my dad for all of those same things except the last. I lost him about 40 years ago, when I was about 20, a couple years old in the faith, and had not acquiesced to the call to ministry.
    But it helped me enumerate my thanks to God for the Father he gave me.

    • John says

      Quite right brother, I would like to add that I would like to thank him for showing me how a gentleman/Christian man should act in todays society. The skills of being a parent and father have somewhat been discarded due to influences of the ‘great unwashed’. I’m reminded of the event of Jesus walking among the crowd when the lady sought only to touch the hem of his garment. Chris said he perceived virtue going out “from him “. Let us all regain some of our Christian virtue.

  10. Tarheel says

    Jared,

    Thanks for posting this. I’m praying or you and your family as you strive to trust God through the pain.

    After reading this and the comments – I’ll kiss my daddy twice and hug him a little tighter when we visit tommorow.

    Thanks for the reminder.

  11. says

    Jared,
    Sorry to hear about your dad’s death.
    My dad also died suddenly, unexpectedly.

    As far as what you would have told him…
    Another way to look at it is that you spoke your last words to him over the last 20 or 30 years.
    That says much more than a few last words.

    May God bless you and your family.
    David R. Brumbelow

  12. Christiane says

    ” For I know that my Redeemer liveth,
    and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body,
    yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself,
    and mine eyes shall behold, and not another . . . ”

    (from the Book of Job)

  13. says

    Jared,
    I am sorry to hear this. My own father is fast approaching this moment when he will meet Jesus face to face – 14 year cancer fight. I have been thankful for the fact that his battle has allowed time to say the things you have said here in person. I cannot imagine the sudden lost.

    Well done! Continue to honor him!

    Praying with and for you!

  14. says

    Jared, I’m sorry for the loss of your father. And the words you shared showed not only the love for your father but the amazing man he must have been. I didn’t have the best relationship with my father, in fact, it was terrible. That’s why your last point meant so much to me. My father’s late in life sins were erased by God and he did do much to make my life rich. Those are the things I praise God for and am happy to pass on to my children.