By Nancy Virden (c)2022
After ten years of posting this blog twice a week, the routine wobbled at the beginning of this year. Enduring Covid twice, moving, trying to sell an as of yet unsold house, plus general burnout took me from this glad task for the past six weeks. If you have been a regular reader and are still here, or if you wandered in recently and stayed, thank you.
We remember the “thief on the cross,” as he is commonly known, as a criminal, a rebel. No doubt he had hurt people’s feelings, finances, and flesh. He had lived selfishly, thinking of his wants above the needs of others. He would not have seemed to be a man worthy of heaven.
We first meet him at the end of his life, one of two men crucified with Jesus. People passing by the three crosses hurled insults at Jesus, and the dying men at his sides joined in the mockery. We do not know much more about the thief on the cross.
Except I knew him, knew him very well, in fact. One could say my dad was just like the thief on the cross.
Dad too, lived his adult life defying God’s ways, at one time living a double life as a church leader. I never heard him speak the name of Jesus. He was, as Saint Paul put it, a lover of himself, a lover of money, abusive, and unholy.
For many years I prayed, ”God, if dad ever faces death without Christ, would You please have one last conversation with him before he passes?” That is not a request without precedent. It is true that we do not know much about the thief on the cross, however, we know enough. During his last breaths, he had a conversation with God. It was the most important moment of his life.
On a Friday afternoon, I received a call. “Your father is dying,” they said. “He might live until Sunday.” Immediately, I set up camp near his bed in the nursing home.
Dad was unresponsive, nonetheless, the medical staff said he could hear. I told him the only thing he had to do for God to love him was to exist, and the only thing he ever had to do for me to love him was to be my dad.
Hour after hour passed. Sunday dragged in, weary and drained. I took a walk. Returning to the room a few minutes later, something felt odd. Trying to open the door was like pushing against a wall. Certain that something had become lodged behind it, I pushed harder. Slowly, It opened. (to be continued…)
Today’s Helpful Word
2 Samuel 22:31
All the LORD’s promises prove true.
If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.
If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. In the EU call 112. (For other international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours!
Always the Fight Ministries (ATFM) has been displaying compassion for those fighting mental illness, addiction, or abuse since 2012. Nancy is the founder and voice of ATFM and openly shares her emotional resurrection from despair. NOTE: Nancy is not a doctor or a mental health professional, and speaks only from personal experience and observations. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.
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