I wish I could wake up and say it was all just a dream. But it’s not. My beloved father is gone and all I have left now is his memory. To many he was a great leader in the church, a supporter of God’s work. To me he was a loving father, who literally laid down his life for his children.
I was privileged to see God worked in the last few years, months, weeks, and days of his life. I see with my eyes how God worked for his salvation, calling him back into a renewed experience and commitment to serve the Lord. We say we can’t explain the will of God, and sure, there remain numerous ‘why’ questions whose answers I just have to wait for. Yet this time, I can’t help being convinced that God allowed him to rest to save him. Until the last moments, we interceded on his behalf that the Holy Spirit would work in his heart in a mighty way that even on his deathbed there would be nothing between his soul and the Savior. It is a difficult exercise, but we trust the outcome to God fully.
This is a daughter’s simple attempt to remember what God has done. After all is said and done, truly I can say the Lord is good.
Back in 2006
It was during my first summer canvassing that I started a prayer that God would revive my family. The twists and turns have been unpredictable for sure, but God indeed is still answering that prayer to this day…
End of 2008
My home church experienced God’s … should I say supernatural leading in choosing their elders for 2009. After 12 years, my dad finally let go of a particular burden he had been carrying and accepted the call on his knees. I knew God had something in store for his life then. What I didn’t know was that God was preparing his soul for his life’s end.
My dad’s heart condition deteriorated. A surgery was inevitable. With certain fearfulness, we prayed for strength and guidance as we went through the path that God chose for us. Life is in God’s hands.
He went through a critical period of time, but thankfully he went out of it. It was such a joy and a relief. Truly it is a miracle that doctors could cut your heart open and you still live! Mom told us that he too felt that God gave him a miracle coming out of that surgery alive. The results weren’t perfect. The valve in his heart was still leaking, but he was thankful and joyful anyway. Another doctor had told him that without the surgery, he could probably only last for a year maximum with his previous condition…
My parents stayed about a week in Malaysia after the surgery and then came home. Of course life was different; Dad was under a strict diet, he couldn’t drink too much water because his lungs had problems, but at the same time his kidneys weren’t doing well either. But he was doing alright. We talked over the phone and webcam, and he looked well.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
As usual over the weekend we talked over webcam. Dad had just got a haircut and it looked cute. He was happy, and I still remember his countenance during this conversation. This would be the last time I would see his smile…
Monday, March 30, 2009
Dad got a fever around evening time and his body was all sore all of the sudden.
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
They went to the doctor and he prescribed him some antibiotics to take. His fever didn’t get better though. In the evening he started to lose consciousness. He was awake and doing things, but he wasn’t completely there when Mom would talk to him.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
They went back to the hospital and this time they kept him there. He went into the ICU. His consciousness worsened too, and very soon he was on all kinds of life support. Mom didn’t tell us at this time, but the doctor said that there was little hope of recovering. He was basically in a coma from this time on.
Mom called me and my siblings crying, telling us Dad was in the hospital again. We didn’t know how serious it was; after all I just saw him three days ago.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Not knowing what to do or how bad the situation really was, Mom told us that she wanted my brother to go home immediately. My sister and I would be on our toes; we could be going home anytime too.
Friday, April 3, 2009
Mom told us all that we should go home. So on this day all of us told our professors and bought our tickets. I can’t put into words what fear and all the things that went on my mind…
I went ahead to ANEW in the evening, a little uncertain whether I should just miss it and get on a flight to Indonesia right away. But it was the right thing to stay. That evening though, Mom called again and told me to talk to Dad over the phone. Even though he was unconscious, he could still hear people talk. I told him to stay strong. I would be coming home soon to see him. It broke my heart…
That night it finally dawned on me that I might be going home to say goodbye. The sadness was suffocating. I got on my knees and stayed there, refusing to get up until God would answer me. I was pleading like I never did before…
What God gave as an answer to me was a picture of Jesus in Gethsemane. If there was a Person who did not want to be separated from His Father, it was Jesus. He wanted to be with His Father always, but He said “Not as I will, but as thou wilt.” His death made it possible for us to be alive – not just now, but eternally. Jesus too had lost His earthly father. My Savior knows my pain and grief. I know that He is ‘acquainted with every circumstance of my life and all my inner thoughts and feelings…’
God knows how to reveal Himself in moments when we need Him most. He revealed this part of Him just at the right time, and I treasured it. He led me to pray for Dad’s salvation, telling me that if it was His will to save him by allowing death, then that would be the best thing for him. He reasoned with me, wouldn’t I want what is best for Dad too? Yes, of course I did. What if Dad stays alive, yet he would lose his salvation? I definitely did not want that. Gently, Jesus asked, don’t I want the same thing that He does? So I told my sweet Jesus, yes, Lord, I want what You want.
And then there was peace. I think I might have said my goodbye to Dad at this time … My prayer then that God would sustain Dad a little more so I could see him.
Sabbath, April 4, 2009
ANEW was such a blessing. This was the mission that God called me to, and I would do anything in my power to get Jesus here as quickly as possible – the true solution to all our problems.
I flew home Monday, April 6, 2009, and arrived in Jakarta on Wednesday, April 8, 2009. I went to the hospital right away and saw Dad. He looked really sad. What actually happened was that the valve in his heart got infected, and because the blood was affected, it spread all over his body. There in front of me was the rotten fruit of the lie Satan told in the Garden of Eden. Look where we have come to…
The next few days we spent as much time with Dad as possible. We read the Bible to him by his bed, sang to him, prayed with and for him, told stories, encouraged him not to lose faith and hope in God. To me it might have the truest picture of ministry. Like taking care of a plant, you do everything you can, but relying 100% on the Holy Spirit to work in the heart.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
We talked to the doctor and he basically said there was no hope of him getting healed. It was a shock to my siblings …
Friday, April 10, 2009
During the afternoon his heart rate declined a little. On this day also finally all of Dad and Mom’s relatives from other towns and cities made it to Jakarta and came to the hospital. In the evening around 8 PM I asked the nurse whether we should stay at the hospital that night or not. She said not to go home. Around 8:30 PM she called us into the ICU, because his heart rate kept going down… We stayed by him… There was only surrender. When his heart rate was really close to stopping we started singing When Peace Like A River… After the third verse, my dad passed away…
When peace like a river attendeth my way,
When sorrow like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul
My sin—O the joy of this glorious thought
My sin, not in part, but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
It is well, with my soul
It is well, it is well with my soul
And, Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll
The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend,
“Even so” it is well with my soul.
What is man? Our life is like grass, here today and gone tomorrow. Yet God says He is mindful of us… It has been 50 days since my dad is gone. Last night for the first time, I dreamed of him. What can I say…I miss him terribly.