Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Not really an orphan

Seven years ago I got a phone call shortly after I woke up informing me that my father had woken up in heaven that morning. I had known it was coming for a long time. Neither of my parents were healthy people. They both suffered from chronic illnesses: dad had diabetes, mom had lupus. We knew they wouldn't live forever but I was surprised when mom went first, passing over 5 years before he did. Dad had always been the sicker of the two in my mind. At least he spent more time in the hospital over the years and I definitely got more "I think this is the end," "please pray," or "you should come" calls about him. When I'd get there he'd be sitting up joking with the nurses over how he'd been an RN longer than they had been (he had no nursing degree but he had had the initials RN for his whole life). I like to say that he had way more lives than a cat.

That morning I posted on my facebook that I am "an orphan." It was hard to believe he was actually gone this time. The end had come, but really it was just the beginning for him of his new life forever, praising in the presence of his Savior and Lord Jesus Christ.

As I was remembering that day this morning these words starting running through my mind:
Standing on this mountaintop,
seeing just how far we've come,
knowing that for every step
You were with us...

Scars and struggles on the way
but with hope our hearts can say
yes, our hearts can say:

Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful (from Never Once by Matt Redman)
Looking back I am amazed at how far we've come. God has been so faithful. I have been "carried by His constant grace and held within His perfect love." I never would have asked to lose both of my parents before I turned 30 but if I hadn't lost them I would not have had this opportunity to see God's glorious, gracious, generous hand and feel His comfort. Dad would have been 65 on this past Saturday but I often wonder if 5/30 or 6/3 is his birthday in heaven or if it's that date when he was 8 when he asked Jesus to forgive him of his sins and be his Savior and Lord. I miss both of my parents so much. They were far from perfect but they were great parents and I am so glad I was able to have them for all of my growing up years in their home and even the first few of my adult ones.

I was looking for a verse about how God is a father to the fatherless (I knew there are verses about that somewhere, probably in the Psalms) and I came across this verse in Deuteronomy 1:31 "And you saw how the Lord your God cared for you all along the way as you traveled through the wilderness, just as a father cares for his child. Now he has brought you to this place.’" I smiled as I thought about how He has cared for us all along the way as we have traveled through the "wilderness" of medical school and residency as a father cares for his child and has brought us to this place where we are now. He has been so faithful. 

As I read the context of that verse I saw that Moses was reminding the Israelites about what God had done for them and how, even though He had cared for them and guided them so faithfully, they refused to trust Him and, as a result, were denied the blessing of entering the promised land. I don't want that to be the story of my life. I want to tell of His goodness and faithfulness, His grace and mercy and I want to always trust Him in the big things and the little things in my life and to obey Him.

God is good. All the time. I am thankful that He cares for this mother-less and father-less one. I am not really an orphan, I am a child of the King of kings and I will never walk alone.