I recently visited my dad and mom at their home in Florida and had a great time sitting and talking with them. I am a bad son. When I get time away from the church I tend to visit my grandkids and I haven’t been down to Florida in several years. I was trying to plan a trip to Florida in conjunction with the SBC in Birmingham and my deacons sort of chided me that I needed to get down there sooner and see my parents. As I started planning things, I realized that April 28, the Sunday I was planning to be gone, was also my dad’s 90th birthday.
The years have been tough on dad. I will not be specific about his physical condition, but we had to help him stand up and he has trouble walking from one end of the house to the other. He and mom still live in their own home but that epoch of their lives is coming to an end one of these days.
It is actually a huge problem for people my age – folks in their 50s and 60s whose parents are aging. Watching the men and women who raised us, who were our heroes, the rocks we depended on, the guiding forces in our lives, gradually ravaged by the effects of the curse.
I had a great time with my dad, but it was hard watching him like that. He was a force of nature, one of those guys who sucked the air out of the room when he walked in it. He was a runner right up until his lung cancer a couple of decades ago. He preached with power. He had opinions on everything. He taught me to love Jesus, the word of God, and the New York Yankees.
And seeing him live in physical weakness was tough.
But I saw something else in him. Even as he grows weaker, he grows stronger. He can no longer preach and that kills him. He can’t even attend church – he now watches preachers on TV. But he stills studies his Bible and has become a prayer warrior. Always a night owl, he now prays through the night.
I left Florida with some strong emotions, but as I processed it all, one thought overwhelmed me.
Death has been defeated. The effects of the curse are ravaging my dad’s body and will likely take him one of these days, but he has fought the good fight. He kept the faith. Death cannot defeat him, it can only relieve him of the body that has been betraying him and take him to a place where sorrow and pain are no more.
I will be a wreck when that happens, but I will also rejoice.
Death has been swallowed up in victory.
55 Where, death, is your victory?
Where, death, is your sting?
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!
58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:54-58)
My wife taught me this silly song they used to sing at some camp she attended as a youth. It does not, perhaps, qualify as great hymnody, but its simple words carry power.
We win, we win,
Hallelujah, we win.
I read the back of the book and we win.
Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through Jesus Christ. Yep. We win.