As January 5th marked the anniversary of my dad’s passing, I want to celebrate him with a story that has been on my mind.
While studying the book of Acts, I noticed something that made me think of one of my dad’s stories about his calling to be a minister. Paul is on a ship, as a prisoner, headed to Rome, because he has appealed to Caesar after pleading his defense to Festus, and King Agrippa, in Jerusalem, where he was falsely accused. Rome is exactly where God planned for him to go, so he could be His witness to the “ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). But while at sea, a severe storm came up that blew them off course and threatened their lives. Paul received a message from an angel of God who told him not to be afraid and that he still had to stand before Caesar, therefore he nor the others would be harmed (Acts 27:22-25). In other words, God’s purpose will stand, not even a storm can stop it. Paul took comfort in that fact and told the other passengers there would be no loss of life, only the ship. Paul’s presence on the ship assured everyone’s deliverance.
My dad told us that when he was a teenager, he was drafted into the army, and had to travel by ship. A bad storm came up, that tossed the ship around, and everyone was scared. He fastened himself in his bunk and felt at peace because he received a message from God that told him he had not preached yet. Like Paul, I think the fate of my dad and God’s purpose for him to preach preserved the lives of the other passengers that day. One of my dad’s biggest regrets was that he did not think to comfort the other passengers.
I have also been reflecting on the fact that on the day my dad passed, I became an orphan, in the earthly sense of the word, because my mom had just passed 6 days earlier. But as I look back at what unfolded that year and have a better perspective of how God orchestrated the events, I realize that before I even knew I would lose both parents, that I had accepted Christ and followed through with the profession of faith in baptism only 3 months prior and had essentially been adopted by my heavenly Father. Even though my dad, at the time, could not understand why I wanted to be baptized again since I had been baptized as a child, I can’t help but believe, he gets it now.