July 2019 Viewpoint
Upon arriving in Lagos, Nigeria, late last October, a message that my dad’s health had taken a sudden turn for the worse awaited me. After communicating with family back home for a number of days, it became apparent that returning earlier than planned was necessary. My travel arrangements were changed and I came home on November 7, immediately driving three hours to Roseburg, Oregon, with Debbie. By the time we arrived, Dad was doing a bit better than he had been at his low point ten days prior. Nonetheless, his first words to me were, “I know I am dying.” They were words of acceptance rather than a statement of despair. As you can read in his testimony, he was saved shortly before his forty-ninth birthday. In November, at age ninety-two, he had been saved nearly forty-four years.
We have no say regarding our birth, nor can we prevent our death. However, God grants each of us an allotted amount of time and opportunity between those two events.
Dad’s life was one of contrast. He lived one way for the first nearly five decades of his life, and in a completely different manner for the last four-plus decades. He died on January 30, 2019. The text used for his memorial service the following week was Ecclesiastes 3:1, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die.” We have no say regarding our birth, nor can we prevent our death. However, God grants each of us an allotted amount of time and opportunity between those two events. We can capitalize on the days given to us or squander them. Dad capitalized on them from the moment of his conversion. When the light of the Gospel came his way, he was soon saved, and was devoted to serving God for the remainder of his days. At our Roseburg church, he ushered regularly and helped clean weekly for many years. At camp meeting, you could often find him scrubbing pots and pans in the restaurant or tending to security at the front gate. Apart from those tasks, both at home and at church, he often could be found on his knees in prayer.
My father’s passing was not a sad event. Rather, it was one that elicited thanksgiving to God from many of us. He made the goal! We hearken back to his conversion of 1975 and are glad that the family dynamic for his seventy-five descendants is completely different than it would have been if he and Mom had not chosen to give their lives to God that year. Mom, who recently turned ninety years old, continues to do well as the family matriarch.
Dad died as he lived during the forty-four-and-one-half years he was saved: quietly and peacefully. He simply stopped breathing and moved from here to paradise, to be forever with the Lord. May we all seize time and opportunity to live for God here, day by day doing whatever we can, that we might be with Him forever hereafter. The goal of each page of this magazine is to inspire readers to do just that!