Tomorrow we will bury my dad’s ashes in the ground. The guns will fire their shots honoring my dad’s military years of service. Those really were some of his honorable days. His most honorable day to me, however, was this past April when he repented of his sins and asked Jesus to take his whole life and in exchange give him all of His. My dad asked Jesus to fill him with the Holy Spirit. I didn’t know then what I know now. God allowed me to make a drive from Texas to Illinois all in one night, so I could prepare my daddy to meet Jesus two months later. I promise I didn’t know. I was looking forward to him someday walking me down the aisle….
He saved my life when he came back to South Korea when I was a baby. Maybe someday I can share the whole story, but for now, I know my daddy was God’s instrument of protection for me… and my mom. He loved her. He wrote her letters every day for a whole year. He sent money for my baby milk. Apparently, I loved drinking it so much. My mom still talks about it.
I was in Alexandria, VA when I found out my dad was sick with stage four cancer at the start of June. I had just talked to the nurse 10 minutes before, thinking all he had was pneumonia like he had in April when I visted. He was a smoker. Pneumonia happened often. She said he was sleeping. I had asked her to scribble a note to him that I had called and that I loved him.
I didn’t know ten minutes later my brother would call to tell me the unthinkable. I honestly couldn’t process it when he did. My brain, heart, and spirit rejected the notion of it all for a few more days. After all, the doctor had not told me anything when I had just called.
After the news that night in Alexandria, VA, I headed toward Virginia Beach. I had to at least see my school, Regent University. Afterall, that is why I had driven to the East Coast for the summer. The truth is, I was waiting for God to release me to go back home to see my dad. He was keeping me steady and quiet, though. As I waited and prayed for dad’s healing, I finished a paper, felt peace and HOPE.
I was going to drive up toward Maine this summer, spend some days in New York and Boston along the way. I had planned to see the lighthouses. However, it all changed in that moment in Alexandria.
Looking back, I understand more fully why I kept seeing signs for HOPE on my way to VA. At first, I thought it was because a guy I had prayed about marrying had just married someone else that summer. But, I was glad for him, and I knew in the end, he wasn’t God’s Promise for me. So, I didn’t think HOPE was for that.
I had also gone through a hail storm, with hail pelting through my makeshift, plastic window, and I had gone through my door not closing. I thought maybe the semi that had Romans 15:13 about HOPE was for the car issues I was having. Now I know better.
Through that hail storm, I found my ability to cry out to Jesus. The minute I did, the storm literally ceased. I had never experienced that before. I was standing outside of my car with a sun windshield visor over my head, getting pelted by nickle to quarter-sized hail. But, at His named cried out honestly from my lips, it all stopped. I knew then God was with me.
The night before I left VA to see my dad, I spoke with my brother on the phone. As we were talking and praying, the only thing I could do was cry out again, “Jesus!” A couple Regent brothers heard me, and they and another friend of theirs surrounded me that night in prayer, intercession, and encouragement. That was HOPE.
Also that week, I met with my amazing Dean of my school and emailed with my current professor. They both encouraged me and prayed for me. I felt strengthened. There was HOPE.
I can still remember being in shock, writing a 5 page paper for my class at the Regent Law Library. It was a good distraction, afterall. But, the minute I hit submit, I felt the strong nudge to go home and my first wave of grief. Then, I knew that what I heard could be true. I still at that time couldn’t say the name of the illness. I knew I had to hurry back.
My dad was in hospice. I can’t write about that experience without being upset, so I will skip it, but eventually, dad went Home.
Since then, I drove back to VA for 3 weeks to write a 15 page Roe v. Wade paper. That paper will always mean souch to me. You can read it below. Currently, I am back in Illinois.
Loss is strange. Grief comes in waves. I love my dad, and I will miss him. But, I thank God I will see him someday at Home. I praise God that I have that confidence because of our visit in April.
So, tomorrow I will attend my dad’s memorial and burial, but tonight I just wanted to take a moment to process the past two months. One thing I am thankful for is that God is a God of HOPE…alway…all the way Home!!!!!!!!
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.