On December 13, 2009, my dad passed away. I’ll never forget the moment the phone call came through or the searing pain that pierced my heart and literally brought me to my knees.
It happened without warning. Only a week earlier my dad and the rest of my family had gathered at Avondale College to celebrate my graduation. I had also spoken to him on the phone the day before he died. He sounded fine; he seemed happy. And I think he truly was . . . until Satan decided to step in.
Doctors told my family a cerebral haemorrhage killed my dad. While I accept this diagnosis, I am also mindful of Satan’s ability to bring pain to a time of peace, and devastation to a period of delight. That’s his M.O. He did it in heaven. He did it in Eden. And he does it now.
But Satan doesn’t think things through. You see, for every move he makes, God has a counter move. Satan created chaos in heaven, and God cast him out. Satan brought his plan of destruction to earth, and God met it with His plan of salvation.
In killing my dad, Satan brought my family and me our greatest hurt. But to counter the hurt, God offers a hope—a great and magnificent hope that puts Satan’s hurt to shame.
"But Satan doesn’t think things through. You see, for every move he makes, God has a counter move."
That’s not to say the wound from my dad’s death is gone. No—the pain from losing him is still very deep. But, as oxymoronic as it sounds, it’s a healthy pain. The great hurt reminds me of the greater hope that is Jesus Christ.1 And because of Jesus, “I can stand in the pouring rain and believe the sun will shine again. I can know that the grave is not the end.”2 I can hold fast to the truth that my dad is a bigger part of my future than he is of my past!
To those who have lost somebody, you may feel as though you don’t have enough faith to hope. Trust me—my faith isn’t much either. But a crumb of faith, no matter how tiny or frail, is immovable and imperishable when placed in the hands of the “author and finisher of our faith”.3 Therefore, “let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23).
On December 13, it will be three years since my dad passed away. But praise be to God, for I’m simply three years closer to seeing him again.
1 Corinthians 15:55: “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”
- 1 Timothy 1:1
- From “Heaven in the Real World” by Steven Curtis Chapman
- Hebrews 12:2
This article was originally titled “Where is thy sting?”.
Updated and reposted on May 13, 2020.