Written by Bryan Maier
Monday, 11 February 2013 00:00
For those of you who are younger than 40, these words were worn as a lapel pin by prophecy-informed Evangelicals in the 1970’s. I found one such pin in my father’s drawer as I was helping my mother sort out his collection of sentimental possessions (my father went home to be with the Lord January 9, 2013). For my father, a 35 year victim of Parkinson’s disease, these words have been the longing of his heart for a long time. For almost two decades he has been saying that he has his reservation in heaven and he is just waiting to be called. A few days ago, the call finally came.
As I reflect on my father’s simple but solid faith, I cannot help but wonder how I have been impacted by watching his faith journey all these years. Imagine being in your early 40’s and being informed that you have an incurable neurological disease that probably would not kill you but would greatly reduce your quality of life. My father responded by working full time for three more years. Then when he was forced into premature retirement, he went to work as a volunteer for the Christian school sponsored by our church. He stamped textbooks, kept time for soccer games, and served as chairman of the booster club for as long as he was able. During this time he began a pen pal relationship with over twenty different missionaries with whom he corresponded for years. He wrote to one family for so long that he eventually wrote to three different generations. I have had the wonderful experience of meeting some of these missionaries. Although I have taught graduate school at two different seminaries, they greet me with “you must be Nelson’s son. I love his letters”. My father was also quick to share his faith. All the neighbors knew we were Christians, not because of bumper stickers but because of my fathers’ loving attitude toward them.
What I treasure most from my father is that I have a role model for following Jesus even when life is tough. His simple answers to my complex theological questions were always along the lines of “it’s God’s will” and “God is good”. That was enough for him. He must have read his bible through over twenty times and while I would be parsing out the tense and mood of the Greek word for “run” my father was the type of disciple who would already be half way down the road. As the years went by, I am sure my father got tired. I could see it in his face when he wanted to tell me something and the stiffness in his face just would not cooperate. I could see the tear in his eye as we sang old hymns to him. I know many times he prayed that God would call him home. Just a few days ago, my father no longer had to wonder “perhaps today”. He heard the Lord that he loved call him home. Well done, thou good and faithful servant.
Bryan Maier, Psy. D. is an Associate Professor of Counseling & Psychology in the Masters of Arts in Counseling Program at Biblical. He maintains a private practice at Diane Langberg & Associates.