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April 18, 2010 - Cheryl Clarke
My dad died last week. On April 12, 2010, sometime between 9:30 p.m. and 10:20 p.m. After he fell asleep for the last time, he simply stopped breathing. The preceeding few months had been increasingly difficult for him, and his final weeks were agony. He was in tremendous pain for the entire month or so before he died, and I was relieved when God graciously ended his suffering. I understand the reason now why Dad had to wait until it was God's time for him to die, at least I partially understand. Dad was raised in the Roman Catholic religion and he was old school, believing he had no chance to make Heaven and rejoin my mother, who was a born again believer. He told me on many occaisions that God could never forgive him for all the terrible things he had done, some of them to my mother. I had no idea what he was talking about there, but his deathbed confessions filled me in on at least some of his secrets. I was shocked, to say the least, but Dad had one more thing to ask of me. After a particularly disastrous visit from my siblings and nephew March 13, when he threw them out of his room, I thought the time had passed for me to make Dad understand that He could go to Heaven and be with Mom if he could just accept one simple Truth, the Truth I had found years before, at age 20. I had a volatile teenage experience, partly because of my relationship with him, so I was surprised when Dad called me up on the next morning, a Sunday, as I sat praying for him. He was in a local nursing home, and it took some effort for him to get a phone to make a call out. After he expressed his remorse for what he had done the previous day, I asked him what he wanted me to do for him. He told me "I want you to save my life." I said, "I can't save your physical life, Dad, but I can help you make sure your soul is saved, is that what you want?" He said simply, but emphatically, "yes." I knew my opportunity had finally come to help him. So, in a moment in time that will forever remain in my memory as a life changing moment, he repeated the sinner's prayer and received Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. At the end of the brief but powerful prayer, he almost shouted "Amen!" Dad was filled with the peace of the Lord as Jesus showed Himself to be real and Dad felt His incredible Love and Forgiveness flood over him. I saw him later that day and Dad told me, with wonder in his eyes, that Jesus had met with him and then he said "He's quite a guy, isn't he Cheryl?" "Yes, Daddy, he's quite a guy," I responded. My family was here for his funeral and burial on Friday, and they were touched by the incredible story of his salvation. My Dad, an old school Catholic, who I felt God would never be able to reach, was saved one month before he left this earth for good, and God used his first born daughter to have a hand in it. I am overwhelmed by the goodness of my Lord. Thank you Jesus, for saving my daddy's life, and for using me, an unworthy servant, to be a part of it.
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