“Dad, sit right here. I’m going to give you a haircut,” I said, but my dad didn’t sit down right away. No, despite my persistence in trying to get him to sit down in about three different chairs, he continued to wander around the room. He didn’t want to sit down. He apparently didn’t feel safe sitting down. My dad was experiencing late stage Alzheimer’s disease, and over the past month he had steadily declined. For him, something as simple as the act of sitting down in a chair made him feel uneasy. “Please give me this moment with him,” I prayed. “Please help him to sit down, God. I really want this moment with him.” Maybe my earnest prayers were my heart responding to the uneasy feeling I had deep within me. Maybe my heart felt an urgency to relish every moment with my dad. Maybe I knew my dad’s days were numbered. Whatever it was, God responded to my heart’s cry because my dad finally settled into a chair.
As I draped a cape around him, I reassured him of my abilities. This was not the first time I was cutting hair, but for him it was the first. I never knew it was going to be his last haircut. Slowly and carefully, as to not cause any more uneasiness, I sprayed his hair and combed it straight. Wet and silvery, gray strands were then combed in between my two fingers. Finally, I began snipping piece by piece. My dad sat quietly in his chair, slightly bent forward. As I moved around him and at times, knelt beside him to cut his hair, I began to think of him, God, and purpose. Then, I prayed over him. I don’t remember the exact words I prayed, but I do remember what I prayed for. I prayed he would continue to live out the purpose God had for him.
In Isaiah 43:7 we are reminded that our lives are purposed for God’s glory. Ecclesiastes 11:5 also emphasizes the supremacy of God, his work, and his purposes by saying, “As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.”
What was my dad’s purpose in this late stage of his life? God’s word is clear in Isaiah 43:7. My dad’s purpose was to bring glory to God, and it wasn't about me or anybody else understanding it. It was never about us. It was always about God.
The day I spent giving my dad a haircut ended up being the last day I spent time taking care of him. A few days later, I received a call from my mom informing me that he was being taken to the emergency room. Three weeks later, we were making plans for his funeral.
Looking back on the day I spent with my dad has more significance to me now than I ever knew before. It was a special gift God gave me, just me and my dad together, and what a wonderful gift it was.
As June 1st approaches, which will be two years since his passing, I am again reminded of his life here on earth. The day will bring sad memories, but I can also rejoice knowing my dad is living out his full purpose in the presence of the Lord.
This week is unlike most weeks. If this is the first time you are reading a post from this website, hang with us one more week. Every week I typically share about my experiences as a mother, but occasionally I write about how God is moving and working in other areas of my life.
For this week, I want to honor the memory of my dad. The best way I know how to do that is to share the gospel. It was what his life was all about. For the study this week, we will be studying the gospel message. It will not be the typical “Romans road” you may be familiar with. I think it will be beneficial to study other areas of Scripture that we may not be as familiar with.
As you study along, I encourage you to commit to memory some of these verses as you feel led. Please click here to download this week's reading guide. Let's begin this week by reading Monday's passage.
“But because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. Such a high priest meets our need-one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens.” Hebrews 7:24-26, NIV
As you read these verses, consider the following questions:
What are the characteristics of Jesus in this verse?
What does Jesus do for us?
On our worst days, why is it important for us to know Jesus is able to “save completely those who come to God through him”?
Photo: Josh Felise