The song "Days of Elijah" by Twila Paris has always reminded me of my Mom. It's upbeat, it's joyful, it's uplifting, it's just like her. And it has always been one of her favorites. Whenever we hear it in church I know I can glance to the side and see her singing, lost inside the words, arms lifted in praise, experiencing God.
Seven months ago this song also became a song that will forever tie me to my father and the night we lost him. This was the song which was on the radio after we had gotten the call that he was nearing the end, and we were on our way to see him for the last time. This was the song that was playing in the car during that long, painful drive, when we were not sure what would be waiting for us when we would finally make it to his side.
I remember thinking how inappropriate that song felt when it came on. I was broken, beaten, shattered by the thought of losing my Dad. There should have been a song of sorrow being played, or even just silence. But not one of joy. No, not joy. Joy was the farthest thing from me in that moment.
When we finally arrived at the Hospice House, we found out we were just a few minutes too late. My Dad was already gone. I remember asking if he was still with us, the nurse sadly shaking her head at me, and then literally doubling over in pain, my breath stolen from me, a cry of despair leaving my body. It was hands-down the worst minute of my life.
But I wonder now if God gave that song as a gift to me. I wonder if while I was in my car, driving to see my dying father, if he was experiencing the words this song sings about, and God was giving me a glimpse of what my Dad had just seen, what he has since become a part of, and what is waiting for me someday.
And so now this song will forever remind me of both of my parents. One of whom is still here with me and who sings these words as a promise of what's to come, and the other, who's promises have been fulfilled, and who has personally experienced what it is to have Christ draw near to take him Home.
"Behold, He comes!
Riding on a cloud
Shining like the sun
At the trumpet's call.
Lift your voice,
It's the year of Jubilee.
Out of Zion 'till salvation comes!"
Dear Lord in heaven,
I pray this day amazed at how even seven months later I am still finding ways in which You showed You were caring for me during those toughest days of my life.
You were always there, weren't You? Even when I couldn't feel You, when I couldn't see You, when I couldn't find You, You were still orchestrating Your world to be kind to me, to comfort me, and to point me to You.
How awesome, Lord, that I have just a small visual of what my father was witnessing that night You came to take him with You. I love listening to those lyrics and picturing You as You approach him. Sometimes You're on a blazing chariot, sometimes You're surrounded by angels, and sometimes it's just You, quietly touching my father's cheek, waking him to his new Life, telling him he had done well and his rewards are waiting for him up in heaven, with You.
It makes me excited for when my own time to meet You face to face will finally be here. It makes me long to see Your glory, to see Your face, to see Your smile, to finally, finally hear Your voice as You whisper in my ear, "It's time to come Home with me, my beloved daughter".
Thank You, Lord, for taking the fear out of the unknown. For we know that at the end of it all, waiting with wide open arms, is going to be You.
It is as the song goes on to say, "There's no God like Jehovah".
Amen to that.
And Amen to You, my Beloved Lord.