I don’t always understand God’s timing, but sometimes I get a glimpse….
I received the call from my brother Marty that Dad had gone to the hospital Wednesday morning. By that afternoon the doctors had concluded there was nothing they could do but send him home to die. My husband and I were picking up our son, who was flying in from Nashville, later that night. We hadn’t seen him in months so I was looking forward to the family gathering, but it was clear if I wanted to see my dad alive, I needed to get to Ohio as soon as possible. Why now, Lord?
My flight on Friday morning from Lancaster, PA to Columbus, Ohio should have been smooth. It was anything but. One of my connecting flights was cancelled (without notice) and the airlines had taken the liberty of booking another flight for me that would not arrive in Columbus until midnight (translation: I would be stranded at the Philly airport for eight hours). Through a flood of tears, I begged the airline to bump me up on the standby list for the next available flight. I ended up fifth in line, taking the last seat, putting me in Columbus by late afternoon. Why this extra anguish, Lord?
When I finally reached my dad’s apartment I was told he may not make it through the night, yet he lived another eight days. With the support of daily Hospice visits, Marty and I were able to care for him all week. Anyone who has been with a dying loved one knows the preciousness of each hour. I realized it was a gift from God.
The day Dad died, he had experienced what the nurses called a “surge,” not uncommon with dying patients. They get one last burst of energy not long before they pass. Dad was more alert than he had ever been. He was able to talk more with visitors, sit up in his chair and had even decided he wanted to watch the Cincinnati Reds play that evening. I had gone to get a pizza for supper, and as I returned and went into Dad’s room where Marty was trying to find the channel for the Reds’ game, I joked with Dad, asking him if he wanted some pizza (he hadn’t eaten all week). He smiled, and said, “I don’t think so…” The next moment, his chest jerked and his head thrust back. He was gone. Just like that.
All week I had been praying for the Lord not to take him a minute before or a minute after his appointed time. It would have been so easy for either Marty or me to be out of the room. Only a few minutes before, I was picking up pizza. But we were both there, with Dad, at the exact moment he left this world and entered eternity.
God was in control the whole time…in my frustration, my distress, my sorrow, my gratefulness. His timing was perfect. It always is. No matter what the season….