Isaac called his son Esau to come to him. Old, sensing his life was fading, this father said to his son, “Prepare me the kind of tasty food I like and bring it to me to eat, so that I may give you my blessing before I die” (Genesis 27:4).
Dad, Mom, we all knew. Dad’s life was nearing its end. I flew to Pennsylvania to spend time with Dad and Mom. There was little doubt these were going to be my last days to visit with my father.
Dad had come home from the hospital the morning of the Friday I arrived. The living room was set up with a hospital bed. Dad was too weak to be out of the bed. He was now under hospice care. The house was busy with a continual flow of visitors. Weak, tired, breathing difficult at times, but Dad’s humor was full of energy. His mind was sharp. There were jokes and laughter. His faith was keen. Many of us teared up as Dad spoke of heaven. He said he was waiting for the Lord.
Sunday the house was again busy with family and friends. Our son, Paul, and his family came. They lived only thirty miles away. Dad shared with me and Paul a dream he had some years ago. The dream was the story of Zachaeus from Luke 19. In Dad’s dream the short man who climbed in the tree was Dad. Fitting since Dad was barely five feet tall, if that. The tree was by the road to Jericho. Dad climbed it to see Jesus. Jesus told him to come down. “Karl, come down for I am going to your house today.” Dad said in the dream he was surprised by this. Then he realized Jesus was talking about Dad’s heart and body. Jesus was calling him to faith and giving him the Holy Spirit. Finishing the story Dad told me and Paul, “I hope my grandchildren and great grandchildren will have faith.”
Dad went on to speak of Christ’s grace in healing. He reminded us of times in the gospels when Jesus healed the sick. He again spoke of the importance of faith. Dad was confident Christ had been with him over the years. He mentioned his heart surgery in 1981 and his heart attack in 1966 as examples of Christ being with him.
That Sunday holds an especially cherished memory for me. Dad asked me and my son to come close to him. That dear old man, my father who knew his life was so near its end. He called us close. He said to us, “This is my blessing to you, faith in Jesus Christ.”
Wednesday morning I woke Mom and Dad early. My friend Louie was coming to take me to the airport. I held Dad’s hand, patted and rubbed his head. More than once I hugged and kissed him. “God bless you,” Dad said. “See you—I don’t remember his exact words—in the hereafter or on the other side or…” His message was clear. Mom and I had a long, firm hug. They did not want me to leave. It was hard to leave, knowing this was most likely the last time to hold my dad, to feel his touch, to hear his voice. Yet I left with another blessing from him. And, Dad being Dad, a joke, “Don’t drag your feet on the ground while flying.” Five days later the Lord came for Dad. The Lord for whom Dad had been waiting.
“So that I may give you my blessing before I die.” Dad did. A precious and cherished blessing it was and continues to be.