Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Best Day of My Life...

My dear dad and mum (Canadian for mom)
I guess you'd have to say that my father died twice... his first death experience in 2004, and then his final crossing during the first few hours of 2006.

The first time, although lasting only minutes, ruined him for this world... and, for the next couple of years he was never the same again... 

I'd always been cynical of "after life" experiences... I placed them alongside stories of little green men, crop circles, and flying saucers... I remain cautious to this day... especially stories involving little green men.  ;-)

FIRST DRY RUN...
I imagine for many in attendance at Abbotsford Sevenoaks Church that day, it was just another typical service... but not for dad.  While sitting in his pew, his tired heart went on strike... and, for a brief few minutes, he left this world and "saw" indescribable colors and experienced a peace he had never known... and then, God chose to send dad back to finish his allotted time...

From that day forward, he couldn't wait to return to his forever home... he often talked about it... always with great emotion... "Oh, Mervin, the colors! Heaven has colors that I've never seen before... and, Mervin, the peace! This world has no peace! Heaven has peace... such amazing peace!" The tears would stream down his face each time he would try to express in earthly words what he experienced in the realms of heaven...

FINALLY, FINALLY HOME... (Really)
Fast forward two years... my brother Gary was with our dad during his final days of passage... Dad was not a large man, but pound for pound, had a wirey tensil strength beyond anyone I knew.  But now, before Gary's eyes, lay a mere shell of the man we had known growing up...

Dad could barely see now, had difficulty talking, breathing was laborious, and he was in much visible pain.... so my brother asked the obvious question... "How you doing, Dad?"

Dad, now savoring the sweetness of the world he was about to re-enter, turned back this last time to answer... like being awoken from the greatest dream of your life to be reminded to take your 2am sleeping pill... (and yet, responding without any hint of annoyance.)

Dad simply raised his head, gave a thumbs up, and scratched out... "It's going GREAT!  This is the BEST day of my life!!!"  Later that night, he died...

When Eric Best (who had been given no middle name) finally took his last breath in January 2006, he joyfully exchanged this present monochrome life for the technicolor one he had so briefly experienced.


TODAY, IS THE BEST DAY OF MY LIFE... 
Wouldn't you love to see those colors and experience that amazing peace... SO WOULD I!  But, for whatever hidden reason, God hasn't seen fit to knock me out for a few minutes just to say "Hey Mervin, let's take a quick tour of your future home!" 

BUT, in a unique way He has... God has allowed me the privilege to suffer a debilitating disease... Parkinson's. 

God has used Parkinson's Disease to dim the world's fun light, allowing me to slow way down... to reflect much more, to speak a ton less, and to notice the many people who are suffering... hurting people... and, most importantly, to see anything in my life, both good and bad, which tends to keep me from first desiring, and then pursuing, a deeper relationship with God... through his son, Jesus.  

Back in my February 2012 post, Satisfied with Nibbling, I used the following quote from John Piper...
“If you don't feel strong desires for the manifestation of the glory of God, it is not because you have drunk deeply and are satisfied. It is because you have nibbled so long at the table of the world. Your soul is stuffed with small things, and there is no room for the great.”
~ John Piper  Hunger for God
Even the good stuff (let alone the bad) tends to crowd out time for the best stuff in life... 

So, until the day I take my last breath, I purpose to place my hope on what will last forever... and to tell as many who will slow down to listen... why today is... The Best Day of My Life!!!
"We’ve been given a glimpse of the real thing, our true home, our resurrection bodies! The Spirit of God whets our appetite by giving us a taste of what’s ahead. He puts a little of heaven in our hearts so that we’ll never settle for less.
That’s why we live with such good cheer. You won’t see us drooping our heads or dragging our feet! Cramped conditions here don’t get us down. They only remind us of the spacious living conditions ahead. It’s what we trust in but don’t yet see that keeps us going. Do you suppose a few ruts in the road or rocks in the path are going to stop us? When the time comes, we’ll be plenty ready to exchange exile for homecoming.

But neither exile nor homecoming is the main thing. Cheerfully pleasing God is the main thing, and that’s what we aim to do, regardless of our conditions. Sooner or later we’ll all have to face God, regardless of our conditions. We will appear before Christ and take what’s coming to us as a result of our actions, either good or bad. 

That keeps us vigilant, you can be sure. It’s no light thing to know that we’ll all one day stand in that place of Judgment. That’s why we work urgently with everyone we meet to get them ready to face God. God alone knows how well we do this, but I hope you realize how much and deeply we care. We’re not saying this to make ourselves look good to you. We just thought it would make you feel good, proud even, that we’re on your side and not just nice to your face as so many people are. If I acted crazy, I did it for God; if I acted overly serious, I did it for you. Christ’s love has moved me to such extremes. His love has the first and last word in everything we do.

Our firm decision is to work from this focused center: One man died for everyone. That puts everyone in the same boat. He included everyone in his death so that everyone could also be included in his life, a resurrection life, a far better life than people ever lived on their own.

Because of this decision we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don’t look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. 

God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you.

How? you ask. 

In Christ. God put the wrong on him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God."  ~ 2 Corinthians 5 (the Message)


8 comments:

  1. beautiful tribute, great encouragement, always well said.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Dear Merv,
    I am so glad to hear your heart in this. Now that your writing is rare, it comes with much more impact on my heart. Thanks for reminding me that we are strangers in a strange land. We have a Fatherland. Love you my friend.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks Dad for the reminder! Of course, when we get to heaven, we'll have to get Grandpa to verify your story... ;)

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love that ... exchanging monochrome for the technicolor. Thank you for the encouragement!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks for the encouragement!! Love you!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Very encouraging and helpful for another parky guy. Thanks Merv!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks so much, Merv! Been thinking about you a lot lately, buddy! Looking forward to seeing you soon I hope!
    Ron

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thank you, Merv, for this precious reminder of things eternal. Parkinsons may have changed many things about your life, but it has only magnified your naturally kind and winsome way! Thanks for being Merv.

    ReplyDelete