Sharing my Facebook post from this time last year thinking of the passing of my Dad on March 19, 2015…
These last ten months have been some of the hardest of my life. They have been filled with soul-searching and reflection.
Our current theme of study in my class is “finding light in the darkness.” I should know … I’ve lived it for the last ten months.
The man in my profile picture (featured right) is the greatest I have ever known.
He loved me at my best and, when I rebelled against him, he still loved me in my worst. He would not relinquish his role of Dad for one minute … he never caved into my rebellion and everything he did for me in my darkest days was for love. He loved much, forgave much and, though I thought he tolerated little … it turns out he did. He was much deeper than I ever gave him credit for. He could have squashed my rebellion any minute that he chose to. But, Dad had this power about him. He knew love, he knew restraint, and he knew how to hold in and not speak a word of his hurt. Those are lessons I still need to learn.
But the biggest lesson has been simple for me as March 19th approaches … Dad had to die.
I fought that reality, I denied that reality, and for months I cried out to God against that reality.
It had to happen.
For years I thought there was such a thing as an anointing that passed from generation to generation … I guess that is why I still enjoy wearing Dad’s shoes and was happy when Mom gave me one of his insulated jackets to wear. But I have learned, there is no anointing in them. They are hollow hugs from my Dad and they are shoes that, though my feet match his in length, they are not exactly wide enough to fit my Dad’s walk.
God did not call me to be Pat Lawrence, Sr. He already had one and now He has him face-to-face.
God wanted a David.
It started a few months ago when I got to share the story of Elijah’s departing with the kids of Re-Fuel at church. I always thought it was the anointing of Elijah’s prayer mantle (talit) that parted the Jordan when Elisha crossed back over. God showed me then that I was wrong.
A more accurate interpretation of Elisha’s seemingly faithless cry of despair, “Where is the Lord God of Elijah?” is actually a declaration of faith …
“The Lord — Who at Elijah’s request divided these waters, and is as able to do it again.” (John Wesley Study Notes)
All the anointing in the world is worthless without faith. The faith in God, not the prayer mantle, led to the Lord parting the Jordan.
I relied on Dad so much … we talked a lot and he answered many of my questions about cars, life, and faith. I still have many more to ask. But, in Dad’s absence, he left me in the hands of the Father.
You see, he had to die so that I would grow.
There are no more easy answers through comfortable conversations … those have been gone since last January. There is only the faith in the Father who held my Dad up just like he held me in that picture so long ago. Through good times and bad, Pat Lawrence, Sr. loved me, supported me, and gave me strength and peace. Then, when it was time, he rested in the arms of the same Lord he led me to so long ago in our den in Bastrop.
So many times I’ve heard it said, “God’s got this” and it always seemed so trite.
But, you see, He really does.
He was holding me in this photo through the arms of a Daddy that just a few years later would led me to Him. Just like Dad, God was there with me through my rebellion of the years and, just like Dad, He loved me and, though He most definitely did not approve, He held His anger in … patiently waiting for me to return to Him.
Good Dad’s are like that … they exhibit the character of Father God through the love of Christ.
I had the best.
People have told me that they admired the way that I served Dad these last few years. Let me tell you … it was easy because I OWED HIM SO MUCH.
That is why my faith is stronger because of his passing. I STILL owe him so much that I cannot dishonor his memory. But, more than that, I owe God SO MUCH MORE.
THAT is my light in the darkness. I have not led a charmed life but I HAVE led a blessed one. Blessed by two of the best parents I could ask for. Blessed to have three great brothers who have always been supportive of me though I did not always appreciate it and reciprocate it. Blessed to grow up in some of the greatest church homes ever possible.
Though I did not understand it, Dad was always putting me in the best places to learn and grow in the Lord. The Lord, going forward, will do no different for me as well as long as I will heed His voice. As He was with and so revealed Himself to Dad, He will do the same for me.
It just takes faith.