Revelation 21:4 has been special to me for quite some time. I am no stranger to loss. Besides, what person does not long for the day when there is no more sorrow or pain?
I did not fully grasp the depth of that verse until October 27, 2013, just weeks before my 26th birthday.
The previous day I had received an early birthday gift in the mail from my dad (when usually he did not even remember my birthday until I called to remind him), and I called him to thank him. He then called me later with information about his upcoming visit. Phone calls between us usually only happened every few weeks, and many times we argued, but somehow, that day, there were two joyful conversations. God is so good. He is with us before, after, and all the way through.
Fast forward to the next day, around 11:00 AM. My brother, living in California like our dad, was calling me. I answered, in the passenger seat of my Mom’s car, thinking nothing of it, only to hear shreds of noise as he choked out, “Dad’s dead.” I had to have him repeat it. I couldn’t believe I was hearing him right.
My world collapsed at that second. My heart shattered, and everything around me froze. I began to sob uncontrollably. I have never cried so much or so hard in all my life. With my brother still on the other end of the phone, all I could do was say, “I’m sorry,” over and over again. Next to me, my mom, no longer married to my dad but still a good friend, wailed in agony–I think for my broken heart more than anything else.
After the Loss
The seconds, hours, and days following that life-changing moment were horrifying, heartbreaking but utterly enlightening and God-filled.
As the day progressed, I gave the bad news to those I loved and made plans for my very quick trip to California. By the next morning, I was on a flight.
I arrived in Fontana, California, the next evening, and upon entering my daddy’s home, I broke down in a mess of sobbing and tears. Without Dad there, the place I had once considered home was just a cold and empty house.
That night my brothers and I sat in the living room sharing stories of memories we had of Dad. We laughed and cried until we were all exhausted.
At one point during that first evening with all of us together in Dad’s house, my brothers presented me with a gift they had found among some of Dad’s things. Raw with emotion, I opened the little box made in the shape of a fortune cookie. Inside was a beautiful delicate necklace filled with charms that represented me all too well.
My brothers informed me that Dad had gotten me that present for Christmas for that upcoming year and had picked out each charm himself. Never had I felt so loved and heartbroken all at the same time.
This man, my father, who usually forgot my birthday and celebrated Christmas by writing me a check or funding a shopping trip, had picked out a loving, heartfelt gift designed just for me. He had picked it out months before the Christmas holiday. I felt at that moment that God knew exactly what I needed. In my heart, from my daddy I had just lost as well as from my Father in Heaven, I heard the words whispered, “I love you, sweet girl.”
Making plans and arranging everything brought a closeness between my brothers and me that we had never experienced before. The funeral was beautiful, full of memories from Dad’s friends, family, and co-workers. We had a celebration of life at his home golf club that completed the day.
I would never describe such events as perfect, as they all came together because I lost my dad that day. But never have I marveled more at the love my Father in Heaven bestows upon us exactly how and when we need it.
I long for the day promised so lovingly in Revelation 21:4. The day when we will never again have to say goodbye to the ones we love. I can hardly wait!
Tracy Yeager writes from the Pacific Northwest.© 2002 - 2023, AnswersForMe.org. All rights reserved. Click here for content usage information.