In one of my trips up to Oklahoma over the last year I got to hear a part of my dad's salvation story. I won't tell it as good as he does but I'm going to try to hit all the high points. In February of 1975 my dad found himself married, with two daughters and feeling like there was more to life than the current lifestyle he was living. They lived in the country and he stepped outside their trailer home and spoke out loud to God asking if he was real. He asked him to show him in that moment if he was real. God spoke to his heart and told him to look up at all the stars. God said that he knows the number of stars and knows them all by name. That was an important moment in my dad's salvation because he knew that if God knew all those stars he must know him. And he learned that God still speaks to his children. The coolest part of the story is that it wasn't until months later when my dad was reading the Bible that he realized God was speaking scripture to him that he had never read:
Look up into the heavens. Who created all the stars? He brings them out like an army, one after another, calling each by its name. Because of his great power and incomparable strength, not a single one is missing. Isaiah 40:26Over the last few years my dad has had heart problems. This last week he had another trip to the ER because of it and this time he wasn't sure he was going to make it. When I got the call that he wasn't doing well I started interceding in prayer for him. As I was praying I saw an image of Jesus walk up to his bed in the hospital, lay his hand on his body and it was as though a surge of new life went through him.
By the grace of God he is out of the hospital now and feeling much better. When a near death experience hits so close to home it really makes me stop and think. It makes me remember the brevity of life. Just as it says in James 4:14 "Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.".
How much different would we all live our life if we kept this verse at the forefront of our mind? I'm not saying plans and dreams are bad(in fact they are from the Lord) but I do think it's important to keep an eternal perspective.
With that said, I decided to do something for my dad that I may normally think to do after he is gone. A letter to my dad:
Dad, I am so honored to be your daughter. I'm thankful you chose to ask God if he was real 30 years ago. I chose your birth year for the date of your star because I felt God say he knew you from the moment you were conceived and from the moment you took your first breath. He knows your name and He has great plans for your life. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans for hope and a future. He sees you, loves you and is so proud of you. He delights in you and loves how you allow His spirit to shine through you for all to see. You have made an impact in the lives of thousands, more than you will ever know in this life. Your strength, joy, compassion and integrity is contagious. You will never be forgotten. We have many years left on this earth to enjoy together. I love you daddy. Love, Rachael Joy