This post came up on my Facebook memories today, and I thought I would share it here, one year later....
One month and four days from this post, my father would surrender his life on this earth for something much greater. I have wonderful friends who, even today, buried a precious mother. Loss is real, and the pain around the death of a loved one cuts much deeper than you can prepare for. But through it all, God brings peace.
For those going through similar things, know that you are not alone. Others have traveled the same road, and more importantly, God walks that road with you. Be encouraged as you remember the good times with those you loved who have departed this world. Embrace those memories, and know that they will bring both sorrow and joy. God was good in giving us a season on this earth to share a common journey with precious parents or friends who have passed away. The greater truth is that eternity for the children of God will be far sweeter than the joys of this life, and we’ll share it together, reunited with those we love who knew Him.
Death is only a pause in our relationship. God has defeated death. The pain of earthly separation will one day melt into perfect peace, as God will redeem, restore and perfect that which has been lost.
I can’t wait...
My Facebook post from 03.23.2022 is below:
Comforting messages from strangers, and an update on my father.
I’ve received an abundance of positive communication regarding the posts documenting my father’s journey—it’s a journey that our entire family is undertaking, and I felt led to share it. Almost daily, God is showing me why He has led me to open up and share these very personal things. It’s hard for me to be transparent where pain is involved. Frankly, it’s hard for me to open up "to the public” about anything; I’m fiercely private by nature. I make absolutely no apologies for being that way, but my heart views this situation differently. It needs to be shared in the light of its brutality and beauty, because it contains both.
My father is slowly embracing a departure from this life, and though the pain for me is great, I’ve learned that God is still good. Not only is He good, He can be trusted with our weak emotions and the fragility of our very moody faith. Others need to hear that message. They need to see and read about the struggle of one of His children to find footing in the midst of severe emotion. And, they need to understand that God often allows things in our life to fracture our faith. These things are purposed—purposed pain. But, He’s a God who will fill in those fractures with an abundance of love and grace, and just like a fractured bone, our faith will heal back stronger and more resilient. For me, in this situation, the path to that healing is like casually strolling though sheer torment. God knows the journey; Christ traveled through something much worse, so His understanding is greater than our circumstances. We have a Savior who can relate.
Thank you for your many kind messages, and thank you for reaching out to me personally. Knowing that these posts have made some kind of difference is encouraging. For the individual who messaged me today, thank you for sharing about your own journey. It runs somewhat parallel to my own. I don’t know this person. I’ve never met them, but God is doing something similar in their own life, and He’s doing it using the same tools of trial and grief—a dying parent. He’s growing them through their sorrow, and He’s teaching them of the great power inherent in submitting to a simple trust in God’s will, regardless of the painful emotions that often swell and hide our recognition of the gentle traces of God’s finger in our life.
God works globally in the lives of people, and so many of us are sharing a similar journey. It’s wonderful to connect with someone over 5 states away who informs you that God has comforted them using my own thoughts about my dad. Their words comforted me. God’s love circles around every situation to incorporate strangers into friends, mourning into gladness, and grief into hope—bringing people together to shine a bright lamp upon His never-ending grace and mercy for all of His children.
There is nothing that God leads us through barren of worth. Whether it’s the birth of a baby or the death of an elderly parent, everything comes with an ingrained worth of wisdom that must be discovered and examined to be understood and appreciated.
I continue to learn much from God through this situation. I’m learning more about myself, my family, my friendships, my faith and my God than I ever have before, and it’s refreshing. My father’s situation brings me great sadness, but His destination brings me great joy! The ground between the two is a place of refining for me, and I’m trying desperately to pay attention.
Update on dad…
Dad has had a good last couple of days. He’s talking a lot, and he’s certainly aware of everything going on around him. Pain is always an issue, but dad is exercising his right to be tough, as he takes very little pain medication. His legs are showing the wear of their war with the delicate pressure of pillows, and he has some wounds from that battle. We help him fight that war everyday. His caregivers, including his family, are attentive to his every need, and, given the circumstances, he’s doing pretty well.
Cognitively, we often ride a rollercoaster. There are days that God allows a very clear mind, and there are days that don’t offer demonstrable clarity. There are days with stronger spoken clear speech, and there are days where speech is weak and limited. So, every single word on every single day is of utmost importance.
Thank you again for your prayers, visits and messages. They are all important to me and my family. God continues to be overwhelmingly merciful to us all. Dad’s life continues to grace our own with a beauty that I will never be able to fully describe.
Keith Beatty is a Worship, Missions and Media Pastor living in North Alabama. He's excited and very humbled to be a follower of Jesus Christ!