Saturday, September 3, 2011

Fading, Fading, Fading...

A World War II general is reputed to have said, "Old soldiers never die, they just fade away." My dad is fading. The old soldier, long forgotten of his medals and citations, is fading like the melting early morning fog. He is but a dim shadow of his former self, and yet the essential life force within him seems bound, restricted by the frail body he inhabits. The soul that is my father is still there, still evident, and yet one cannot help but feel he yearns to be free.
It's hard for me to grasp the enormity of this time or the loss that is about to overtake me. Soon enough, perhaps far sooner than we suspect, there will be another post to say that Dad has passed. Not died, mind you, but passed. "He that liveth and believeth in me shall never die," Jesus promised. Indeed, we do not die. We change location. We exchange one life for another.
It was Jim Elliot who said it best, as I recall: "That man is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."
I cannot keep my Dad. I cannot keep him any more than I can keep forever any other loved one. But at the same time, I cannot lose him either. I am willing to surrender him for a time, if I must, in order to gain him for an eternity. And so it is with all those whom we love, and that is why we yearn so much that they - like our selves - will come to know Christ as Savior; that we may lose them for a season to gain them for an eternity.

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