Walking Through the Pain Hand in Hand

Just after Thanksgiving, I was driving down the road by myself and a memory captured me. I remembered back 18 months when my dad had heart surgery. In my memory, we were standing in pre-op and I was considering counsel someone had given me. “Don’t leave anything unsaid,” they told me.

As I considered their advice that day before the operation, I couldn’t come up with anything. There was nothing unsaid, as far as I could tell. We had experienced some significant times and some routine times where the messages of love, respect, affirmation and appreciation were communicated.

That surgery went well, yet my dad coded afterwards. They revived him quickly, but it was a scare. I couldn’t understand why this memory was coming up to the point that it brought tears. Is there something I should have said that I didn’t?

It was within 24 hours from feeling and considering that memory that I got a message from my dad saying that he had to have heart surgery again. Now the memory had my attention as it came right on top of the news. Going into this one, is there something that needs to be said?

As the second surgery approached, I was incredibly uneasy about it. Was it just worry or was God stirring me prophetically?

Two nights before the operation, we had dinner with my dad and details he shared regarding the operation only left me more anxious. I was somewhat disengaged as I battled through the discomfort of disagreement.

The next morning, the day before the second surgery, I sent my dad a text, telling him basically; “I don’t have peace regarding the surgery. Please consider every possibility and it’s not too late to change the plan during the pre-op consult with the surgeon (to be held later that day).”

The grace of God was with me as I sent that message. My dad had the surgery and he died from it. What I believe was God’s prompting to not leave anything unsaid was for me, not him. He was going to have the surgery and his rationale was sound for why he was going to have the surgery. The outcome was tragic, but the torment of “what if” was disarmed from the exchange my dad and I had.

There were other “prophetic markers” leading up to the procedure that weren’t completely clear without the benefit of a retrospective view. Various touch points of God’s insight and presence even as we walked closer to the pain. The pain still came, but it wasn’t as surprising as it would have been otherwise, and I wasn’t alone.

God will walk with us and talk with us and let us in on what’s going on, but He won’t guarantee the outcomes. He’s not a genie, but He is a friend. He’ll be there when trouble comes, and trouble will come. Knowing God isn’t a lottery ticket; it’s the comfort of a Father’s hand to hold. There is comfort in His presence.


3 thoughts on “Walking Through the Pain Hand in Hand

  1. Thank you for this message Scott. My dad was an Air Force lifer. In the three weeks before his one and only heart attack, some 25 years into retirement, dad and mom spent time with my oldest brother and grandsons in Kansas. The next weekend we all spent together for Easter, the following week they came to North Richland Hills, spending time with their grand daughter, and us. Four days later, I received that call from mom. For some reason I spent time with dad before their drive home asking many questions about family that I had never asked before, and learned a few things I hadn’t known.

    He does have a plan and purpose. We were humored in the fact that God placed dad on his final TDY, to spend lots of time with his family just before his passing. As we entered the back of an older, moderate sized, mini cathedral styled Catholic Church for his funeral mass, I was amazed. The sanctuary was approximately 80 percent full. Dad had served so many through the Air Force, retiree associations, Knights of Columbus, and in his civilian callings. Our Father in Heaven blessed us well with those final weeks, and left us with an incredible reminder of the meaning of serving others.

    Things dad didn’t perhaps say verbally, he communicated to us in the demonstration of giving us, and others, his time and service. My lesson? That there is something to be learned from each life we celebrate. As we go to pay our respects, ask Father, “…what will you have me learn from this life…”. Be patient, and open, to what the Holy Spirit will share with you.

    How will you use it? Now, go and serve.

  2. Pingback: The Final Promotion | Encounter. Encourage. Engage.

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