About five to six years ago, my earthly father called me up at work and said, “Bonnie’s dead.” See, Bonnie was my step-mother. A few seconds went by as my thoughts were collecting after this horrible news, my dad asked this, “Will you come down with me to Pennsylvania where she wants to be laid to rest when the ground thaws out?” I jumped at the opportunity to tell my dad about Christ, even though he heard it many times before.
In my estimation, my dad and I have always had a little bit of an awkward relationship. The reason why my dad did not have a good, bad, or indifferent relationship with his father was due to the fact that my grandpa died when my dad was six years of age. It was due to the fact that my grandpa was home alone passed out drunk and a lit cigarette that he was smoking caught the whole house on fire, and because my grandfather was passed out, he died in that fire. Nevertheless, in attempting to have that stellar relationship with my own dad, my heart was filled with compassion because of the fact that he did not have any sort of relationship with his own father to fall back on, either good or bad. Well, I thought this would be a time when I would support my dad, for God has presented such a time as this to ask eternal questions.
It was early June, and the ground had just softened up enough for me to make the trip down to Pennsylvania, for traveling down to Pennsylvania for the trip wasn’t new to me. For my other grandfather used to seem to know the best eating places when I was a child, and Pennsylvania has shoe-fly pie 🥧! (an Amish made a pie so you know it doesn’t have a lot of ingredients to it but oh so yummy). Seemingly, my grandfather knew the places to eat when we went on camping trips; it didn’t matter which state we were in, and Pennsylvania was no different. My other grandparents and our family used to go on family camping trips all along the Eastern part of the United States discovering new places to eat as my grandpa used to study up on what made each state different. Well, to say the least, Pennsylvania is where I got my love for shoe-fly pie. To digress a little, it was one of the top things that popped into my mind when he said he would like to have a traveling companion to go down and back with him. So I agreed, hoping to provide what little comfort I could, hoping to come back with shoe-fly pie, and finally, get my dad on the side of King Jesus.
We had to leave early in the morning to accommodate my dad. It is a 9-10 hour trip from where I currently live, and my dad knows the “love affair” I have with shoe-fly pie. So, when we were in Pennsylvania, a few exits passed by as my hunger for some shoe-fly pie was getting stronger until we stopped off at a little diner. We ordered our breakfast, and it came in sufficient enough time. After eating breakfast, I asked the question: “Do you have any shoe-fly pie?” I asked the waitress with bated breath. The waitress shooked her head no and offered me other desserts. As disappointment set in that they did not carry shoe-fly pie, we had another three hours to go before we had reached the spot in Pennsylvania that my step-mom wanted her body buried in as the final resting place. However, I was on a mission: to get my dad saved from the devastation of hell where Satan and his cronies are. I wanted him to accept Jesus Christ and go to Jesus Christ’s side where we get the privilege and honor to worship Him in Heaven. “I was on King Jesus’ side! What could go wrong?” I pondered silently in my head as we had just finished with breakfast, and we were back on the highway again.
Full of the Holy Spirit, I decided to wait until we were both rested, and I didn’t confront him with the question until the opportune moment, the next day. And it seemed like it was only a matter of hours before the next day would be here. To me, everything seemed rushed, like I was there to just keep my dad company but as a stranger nonetheless; for it was my dad who felt right at home and was much more comfortable spending the night at my step-aunt and uncle’s house than I was.
The next day was sunny just as the previous day had been. The funeral was brief, and we spent longer time just observing her body of ashes than we did at the funeral service. I felt helpless. Yet, I was there for my earthly dad, to find the opportune moment for me to pour my heart out. I started with my personal inner thought of going through that horrifying, almost death-inducing sports car accident, and my positive outlook on life even though faced with difficulties for the rest of my earthly life. I had dreams of conversion, that he would immediately go from the side of unbelief to belief, from unconverted to converted all for the glorious name of Jesus Christ.
Well, I waited until the moment that we were both driving in the car after the funeral service to grab a bite to eat with my step-mom’s sister and her family. That seemed to be the right moment. Although after I got through, my dad didn’t accept the free gift of salvation. Going through so much, how could he not see that Christ offers a better way of life eternally? Maybe, he does not see that in order to gain Christ you have to be willing to suffer for His name?
Perplexed, I started to go through reasons in my mind such as, “Maybe, he has gone through too many hurts in his life starting with growing up without a dad (my grandfather) from the age of six? Maybe, it was because of my parent’s one separation and two divorces that no matter what you tell your child thinks that it is that child’s fault? Maybe it was because I lied in court (a big no, no) because I was doing what my mother and my grandmother instructed me to do in order to keep my mother’s side of the family together? Then, my horrible accident that I was in, of which I am still feeling the effects today? Maybe, it was my step-mom’s death rocked his world into unbelief?” Maybe, just maybe…
As I sit and try to remember the intricate details of that trip, I am haunted by the fact that, as of now, I don’t have any assurance that my earthly dad has accepted Jesus Christ to bypass all the torment that is awaiting him in hell. As Romans 9:3 states, Paul is willing to take on the tortures of hell in saving his brother and sister Jews; so would I if my dad could be spared the tortures of hell. Yet, this is where I have to keep reminding myself the words in Isaiah 55:6-11 which goes like this in the New Century Version:
So you should look for the Lord before it is too late; you should call on Him while He is near. The wicked should stop doing wrong, and they should stop with their evil thoughts. They should return to the Lord, so He can have mercy on them. They should come to our God because He will freely forgive them. The Lord says, “My thoughts are not like your thoughts. Your ways are not like My ways. Just like the heavens are higher than the earth, so My ways are higher than your ways and My thoughts are higher than your thoughts. Rain and snow fall from the sky and don’t return without watering the ground. They cause plants to sprout and grow, making seeds for the farmer and bread for the people. The same thing is true for the words I speak. They will not return to me empty. They make things happen that I want to happen, and they succeed in doing what I sent them to do.
I also get the comfort that the Holy Spirit is saying the words for me as 1 Corinthians 2:10-16 which says:
But God has shown us these things through the Spirit. The Spirit searches out all things, even the deepest secrets of God. Who knows the thoughts that another person has? Only the person’s spirit within him knows his thoughts. No one knows the thoughts of God except the Holy Spirit of God. Now we (Christians) did not receive the spirit of the world, but we received the Holy Spirit that is from God so we can know all that God has given us. And we speak about these things, not with words taught to us by human wisdom but with words taught to us by the Holy Spirit. And so we explain spiritual truths to spiritual people. A person who does not have the Holy Spirit of God does not accept the truths that come from the Holy Spirit of God. That person thinks they are foolish and cannot understand them, because they can ob)y be judged to be true by the Holy Spirit. The spiritual person is able to judge all things, but no one can judge him. The Scripture says, “Who is able to know the mind of the Lord? Who is able to teach Him?” But we (True Life Christians) have the mind of Christ. (NCV with my added emphasis)
With that said, you would think that I would be emboldened to share the Good News that Christ came down from heaven, only to suffer and die on a horrifyingly painful cross, then three days later, rise from the dead according to Mattew 28:19-20. But I still struggle with my insecurities. I am not a great or even average orator that can speak of the things of God with precision. Yet, am I supposed to hide behind that? NO!!! So I use my weakness to glorify Christ (2 Corinthians 12:9-10) 😇.
So, Being Rejected By Your Dad For Openly Speaking The Name Of Jesus Christ… is not fun. I wish things had turned out differently. However, you have to be willing to forsake even your earthly family members for the cause of Christ, as Mark 3:31-35 states. It is the cost to be a follower of Jesus Christ. Think about it, and then take action!