Late Wages for a Father

This needs to be read by everyone. It is a moving story of Late Wages seen in the Bible in Matthew 20:1-16. It deals with racial inequality, hatred of others, God’s great love, Man’s disdain for God, and God’s forgiveness and tender mercies available for anyone in spite of themselves. How it is NEVER too late. Each time I read Cheryl’s story, I wish for her to share it again and again. TEARS…

A True Story of God’s great Love and Mercy

My dad hated three things: injustice, gossip, and liars.

In the 1960s when the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) was not the communist, leftist, liberal, victim-promoting agency it is now, but an agency for the advancement of civil rights, respect, and dignity of black-Americans, my lily-white dad became a member. It was not safe to do that but he was never afraid of anyone. In August of 1963, he took off for Washington DC to march with Dr. Martin Luther King in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. He hated injustice and did what he could to stop it. He also hated gossip with a passion and I never once saw him participate in it. He also couldn’t stand liars of any form.

Yesterday I was called a swine by a woman with more than 2,000 followers. She believes herself to be a Christian. However, she is not saved from hell nor does she have eternal life*. But, the Bible says God gives the free gift of eternal life to everyone who believes the Gospel and saves them from the wrath (judgment) to come. Also yesterday I was blocked by two people who also believe themselves to be saved, who, like the hateful woman who calls Christians swine, they also are not saved from hell nor do they have eternal life*. Those kinds of people (professing Christians) and their very hateful words and behaviors toward those who don’t meet their standards had a long term effect on my dad. I remember the complete disdain and contempt he had for the ‘Christians’ he both saw and heard treating others unjustly, viciously gossiping about their families and neighbors and lying in between it all.                                              *(Based on their profession of believing a false gospel, being justified by their works)

C’mon God, bring it on

My Father’s words are etched in my memory, “I want you to run your errands on Sunday morning because it’s the safest time of the week. It’s when all the thieves and liars are in Church”.

He would often cite these hateful ‘Christians’ as the reason he wanted nothing to do with Christ. And believe me there were plenty around us (within my own family) who never failed to let my dad down in that regard.

And while my dad hated injustice, gossip and lying he had no shortage of his own serious sins. He was not a Believer. He would literally thump his chest with his fist and say, “C’mon God, bring it on”. I was not a Believer either but there was something about that act that made me shudder.

While he hated great social injustices he had no trouble being a tyrant in our home. I was raised in anxiety, unpredictability and uncertainty. He was short on love and long on criticizing. He was gifted with profound intelligence but not wisdom. He was never satisfied and went from job to job as he moved us from town to town, state to state and finally to another country.

I saw him offer extraordinary kindness and care to strangers as he provided them with food, money, transportation and even our home and yet had almost none for his own family. He would live his whole life this way and so would we.

By the time he was in his 80’s he had a relatively mild form of dementia…serious enough that he required care, but not so serious that he needed hospitalization.

One evening while he was sitting on the bed taking off his socks, he fell and broke his hip. At the hospital the nurse told my mom that tests revealed that his kidneys had shut down and he was less than 24 hours from dying. She had no idea. I lived out of state at the time and she called me to say I had to come home. I left immediately.

We were instructed to wait in his room to see him after his hip replacement. He never came. Instead we learned that he was in ICU. The surgery itself went well but the outcome was that he was in a life-threatening state… kidney failure, heart troubles… I can’t remember the long list.

While in ICU he was disoriented but mumbled repeatedly, “I’m going to go to court on the 15th and be found guilty” Over and over again, “I’m going to go to court on the 15th and be found guilty”. The nurses said it was the dementia; that he was ‘incoherent’. I did not agree. Except for the nighttime, he had no idea of time as the lighting in the room was always the same. He had no idea what year, month, day or hour it was.

As he slowly came out of those immediate dangers he had no shortage of energy for being hateful. He was demanding, rude and accusatory. I didn’t visit him but my mom did. I couldn’t stand it. I could pray instead. In the meantime, he was moved to a skilled nursing facility.

My great fear in all of this was that he would die and go to hell. I knew then and know now that the outcome of those who reject the Savior of the world is hell. After his words about the 15th I was in even greater fear and praying fervently for his life.

I brought my mom’s pastor in to share the Gospel with my dad. I didn’t do it myself because I was a young and very ignorant Christian who felt it would be better to have someone with ‘authority’. The pastor attempted to lead my dad through the ‘sinner’s prayer’. I said, “Stop right there”. While I was still very young in the faith and very ignorant I did know that salvation is not the result of repeating a magic prayer or performing a ceremony.

So many people were praying for his salvation.

One evening a nurse’s aid came in to shave his scraggly face and when she got done, she thanked him. That was the turning point. He literally began to weep. Neither my mom nor I (in 57 years) had ever seen him shed a tear. He was a ‘man’s man’. He rhetorically asked, “Who serves you and then thanks you”?.

He wept all that evening.

The next day he asked for my mom’s pastor to return. He was not lead through anything. My dad quietly and sincerely acknowledged that he was a sinner (a first for him) and he believed God. He believed and received the free gift of eternal life and was sealed by the Holy Spirit until the day of his redemption. The day was the 14th of September. 

He would live another three days. During those three days my dad, who would not allow a Bible in the house, let me read the Book of John to him. He was kind, tender and gentle. His dementia was gone. There were no repeated questions. No forgetting the answers. Not a single harsh word. Not one. And he would pray his first prayer asking God to take care of his wife and daughter. And then he would enter glory.

So happy Father’s day to my dad and happy Father’s day to my Father, God.

(Holly: Cheryl’s dad never made it to court. Heb 2:9 says, it is appointed to man, once to die, then the judgment. Cheryl’s Father missed that judgment he believed he was facing. Do you know where you will go when you die?)

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16

Martha’s brother Lazarus had died four days earlier when Jesus arrived. He told her:

“I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26

Dear Unbelieving friend,

You might be someone like my dad who witnessed the first hand hatred of people believing themselves to be Christian or who, in fact, may actually be Christian but full of judgment, injustice and unkind speech.

You won’t find a defense of that in His Word. You won’t find their example commended by God. They are a disgrace to His name.

Please listen:

Jesus Christ is God in the flesh. He came to save sinners. He is the Savior of the world. He loves you. And He is Just. His Word says, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right”.

The wages of sin is death. Jesus Christ received the wages of your sin when He died on the cross. There can be no forgiveness of sins without the shedding of blood. His blood was shed for you. He was buried and on the third day He raised Himself from the grave proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that He has authority over death and can keep His promise to raise everyone from the grave who believes Who He is (God) and what He did (for you) at Calvary (the cross). He lives today and is returning one day (maybe soon) to judge this world.

Just as He told Martha, “everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die”, He also said, “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not believe the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

I will leave God to deal with Christians who bring reproach to His name to chasten, mercifully, His children that we might serve Him in a manner that brings glory to His name and many people to salvation.

But please do not mistake the unkindness of strangers or even your own family for the love that God has for you and His desire that none perish.

Not incidentally… had my dad not fallen off the bed and broken his hip he would’ve been dead the next day and gone to hell. No one in the whole universe knew that my dad was about to die except One.

 

2 Responses to “Late Wages for a Father

  • What i like about this story is how it proves Dementia cannot stop someone from recieving The Gospel. This is really encouraging to know!

    • Liam, I completely believe He is so merciful and He hears the prayers which are people who are laboring in the harvest. I just marvel at His lovingkindness, desiring none to perish.

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