As I stared at my father’s name upon his tombstone, I couldn’t help but feel enraged. It was a shocking emotion; I truly believe I had dwelt with the death of my father so many months before. Yet, as the minister finished his message, I was the first to leave the grave site.
Several months ago, my mind accepted the fact my father was dead. Now my heart was accepting the final chapter of this page of my life, I didn’t want it to turn. Besides turning the page, I didn’t like the words written upon it. Why couldn’t he love me? Why couldn’t we have the relationship other fathers and daughters have? It hurt deep, very deep. As the tears emerged, I started to even question why I was crying for him. Yet, it was the Spirit of God working to break the hurt within, so He could work.
A few days before the funeral, my sister and I had to clean and divide the remaining belongs of our father. As the storage unit was being cleaned out, I walked away to cry. It was so hard to watch all of the items upon the ground. All of the tools upon the ground my father held, he used to build houses and businesses in this small town. Although his work would be left, my heart was vacant. There was so much work needed to be accomplished in our lives, now the door was closed. A closed door never to open upon this earth, it was sealed shut.
Although the door was sealed shut, in Heaven it’s awaiting to be opened. Until I die or the rapture comes, I await to open this door. It’s truly reassuring and gives me hope. Yet, as I quietly sat upon the back porch with a good cup of coffee, my son came to me. He said, “Mom, may I have this?” “It was grandpas and I would like it.” As my son handed me my father’s Bible, I was speechless. As I accepted the Bible, I asked my son to leave for a few moments, so I could think. It wasn’t just a Bible; it was the Bible I bought my father for Christmas several years ago. As I opened the Bible, I found his bookmarks and notes. The Spirit of God moved me to the first bookmark, “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” Matthew 6:12
As I stared at those words, I knew what God was asking me or what my father was asking. Could I forgive him? Would I forgive him? It wasn’t a question I never encountered with my father’s relationship; it seemed to be the theme. Truth be told, it’s the theme of all of our lives. We desire to be forgiven and we want to be forgiven, it’s the greatest gift of all. As I read the words of Jesus again, I knew what I had to do.
Upon the last day of my visit in Maryland, I drove to the grave site. As I got out of the car, I walked down the hill to my father’s grave. As I stared at his name, I spoke to him. I shared my hurt, my anger, but I shared grace. As the wind blew around me, I gave all of the pain to God.
Forgiveness is an act of the will; it’s not a forced action. It’s an action of love, true love.
It’s looking beyond the pain of sin to see the transforming work of God—grace! Grace doesn’t allow us to see others the same way; we see them as children of God. Although the test of forgiveness has passed; death didn’t win. Death and sin couldn’t destroy the relationship any longer; grace was holding the relationship until I enter Heaven’s gates. My father’s waiting for me, we will not only enjoy each other but we will dance before the King who restored what I lost.
Building strong marriages together,