“For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” — Romans 12:3
Memories of the Measure of Faith of a Daddy
It was just 8 years and one day ago today that my Daddy went to heaven. He was a man that did not think more highly than he ought to think. This is the time of year when I get to thinking about what a humble hero he was. He is one of those men that fought for our country in World War II. He dealt with such horrific events that he did not even talk of them. As a young girl I often wondered why my Daddy did not talk about the war and I never had the answer until the day they put his body in the ground. My Uncle Tommy (Daddy’s brother) told me that he did not speak of it for the same reason many veterans of war do not speak of it — because it brought on the nightmares. So it was better to keep silent.
I never knew my Daddy was a decorated veteran, but indeed he was. We found this out when we were going through his personal things shortly after he passed. We were searching for his DD 214 (Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty). We were getting ready to meet with the Funeral Director and we needed that important document to prove his service in the military. Along with that DD 214 were various other papers and then to our surprise — there they were — 4 bronze stars hidden away for all those years. WOW! We were speechless.
I am thankful to my brother-in-law Rob (also an armed forces veteran) for arranging for the full honors that were presented to my Daddy at the cemetery. Rob worked hard and made lots of telephone calls to make this happen. And you know what? My Daddy deserved every minute it took to arrange it just as he deserved every salute from everyone involved. I will never forget when we came around the bend in the vehicle and saw those men — waiting for us in full salute. The American flag never looked more beautiful than it did when it was spread over the casket that held the body of my Daddy. The notes from the bugle were especially sweet that day in early July, 2005 as they resonated into the sticky summer air in Ohio.
My husband tells me of the time that he and my Daddy had a man-to-man talk. It was when Michael told Daddy that he was going to serve in the army himself. Michael was only 17 years old when they talked, but my Dad thought it important to share with Michael a promise that he had made from a fox hole during the war. My Dad was a carefree, sort of wild young man before he joined the army (and was probably that way in service too). He made a promise to God that day from the hole that if he survived the war he would settle down and find him a good woman and raise a family. And my Dad made good on that promise — I am surviving proof of it!
That took a measure of faith.
Many years later Michael and my Daddy had another man-to-man talk. It was when Dad knew he was very, very sick and he was concerned for his wife, my step mother, Mary. Michael knew that Mary had a son and daughter that would take good care of her and so he promised Dad that he needed not worry about that. They would be left behind, sure, but Michael told Dad that this should be the least of his worries. After many years of trying to share the good news of salvation with my Dad, Michael had finally come upon the day that Dad wanted to hear what he had to share. It was that day, just a few short days before he left this planet that Dad believed the truth of his salvation and claimed Jesus as his Savior. Through grace my Daddy believed the truth and because of this I can look forward to seeing him in heaven when God calls me home.
That takes a measure of faith.
Memories of the Measure of Faith of a Son
It was just 7 years and one day ago today that a young man that I loved as a son went to heaven. It was the one year anniversary of my Dad’s home-going. All-in-all, it was a day just like any other. By this time we had moved from Minnesota back to our home state of Ohio where my husband was the pastor of a small country church. So we were busy in the work of the ministry when the phone rang. It was a friend calling to tell us that Ben’s plane had crashed and he was quite certain that Ben had perished in the crash. Ben was a pilot and he had just bought a light aircraft a few days earlier. Ben was not just any young man, he was the one to whom our daughter Candi was engaged to marry. Candi was out of country on a summer missions trip and as I fell to my knees and nearly stopped breathing, all I could think of was Candi … so many miles away and I know she needed a hug from her Momma — well at least I needed to hug her!
Ben was a bold and faithful witness for Jesus Christ. He carried gospel tracts in his wallet and he handed them to every new person he met. He was never afraid to share his Savior with a stranger. He trusted that God would always give him the speech to say just the right thing at just the right time.
That is a measure of faith.
He loved to talk to people and his smile was infectious. He was my Candi’s best friend for 5 years.
So before we knew it we were anticipating Candi’s return to Minnesota where she lived and we took a road trip, hoping to arrive at the airport before she did. That drive never seemed longer. I remember crying and praying and reciting the “fire storm” memory passage from Philippians 4. My heart ached for my little girl who was a widow before she was ever even married. Her entire life was turned upside down. It was a very difficult time in our life. Losing such a young man brings incredible grief. I can only imagine the heartbreak that his parents felt, it must have been at least 10 times that of my own.
So much has happened in these 7 years and just yesterday Candi posted the following status on Facebook (she gave me permission to share it with you):
7 years… hard to believe. In some ways it still feels so fresh.
I can still smell the roasted lamb dinner and smokey South African air.
I can still hear all the laughter and commotion of almost 20 people gathered at the table as I answered the phone.
I can still remember the way it felt when grief overtook me as my Daddy told me that Ben had crashed his plane.
I still remember those long moments as our mission team-my friends- gathered around me to pray while we waited for another phone call…
I still remember the moment I knew he was dead.
Sometimes, especially days like today, it’s hard to forget. The easier thing in these seven years has been to question. If nothing else, after 7 years I can tell you this: my God has never stopped working to make it all work together for good. I felt that my world had ended that day…BUT GOD has only brought blessings through it all. Today I remember a loved-one lost… but yet what I think about more today, by God’s amazing grace, is all that I have gained in these 7 years.
God has worked through every tear. Each year brings more blessing and more revealing of His perfect plan for my life. Tonight I smile as I fall asleep in the arms of the amazing man God made for me as my three beautiful children sleep safe and sound in our cozy home. I began today singing on Worship Team at church praising God…now I end my day praising Him who has taken the ashes of my life and turned them into something SO incredibly beautiful. God is good…ALL the time!
That first year after Ben went home to be with the Father was very hard. It was hardest for his family and Candi. But it was also hard on us (the almost in-laws). We believed with all of our hearts that God had a purpose for this tragic event. We believed that because Candi had Jesus and the Holy Spirit that one day she would come through it.
That took a measure of faith.
I talked to Candi today as I was asking permission to share her testimony and I have no doubt that God used this life circumstance to minister to many, many people. Even today when Candi recalls that dark time in her life she never ever forgets to mention that it is only by the grace of God that she came through it. She asked the questions early on “What is this for?” and “What now?” She asked the questions over and over again and waited on the Lord. She waited for the answer. Today she told me that she believed that Romans 8:28 was her real life. She believed that God would bring her through it. She had to believe … what else was there?
That took a measure of faith.
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
And as I write this post I know it took a great measure of faith for my baby girl to press on. It not only took faith it built faith in her and those around her as they watched her deal with such a huge life event at such an early age.
And it takes an amazing God to show us His plan for our life. Ben was not to be Candi’s husband. Ben was her best friend for that time in her life. God provided a faithful young man when she needed him. And then God provided a wonderful Christian husband for Candi … in His time. I am so thankful to our Jehovah Jireh for providing just what Candi needed, just when she needed it. I am thankful that her dear husband Eric had the courage to pursue her and make her his wife.
That took a measure of faith.
I just thought of a song that I want to share with you. It is called “A Greater Yes” written by Marcia Henry. The Southern Gospel group The Whisnants recorded it.
Trust God if He says no, you’re still blessed … there must be a Greater Yes!
That takes a measure of faith! And God gives us that measure of faith.
Things to Think About and Do
1. Where in the Bible can you find a good definition of faith?
2. In today’s verse, what is the attitude that we should have when waiting for God to deal His measure of faith to us?
3. How can you get to heaven? (Hint: Read Ephesians 2:8-9)
Note: This post was originally published in June 2013 here at Christianity Every Day