January 13–If only…

If only I had let God hold me when I was a younger man, I never would’ve done the things to y’all that I done.”

My dad spoke those words of confession–in his very thick Mississippi accent–at age seventy-three, as he finally, humbly accepted Jesus as his Savior. God saw my dad’s repentant heart, and received him as His child for all eternity–right then and there. The LORD had always been reaching out–wanting to hold my dad and lead his life. But my dad had ignored God for far too many years–and forfeited his own peace and the peace of our family.

Come near me and listen to this…This is what the LORD says–your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river…Isaiah 48:16-18

Personal Reflections from Sylane                                                                             If only…if only…if only…

My dad had lived much of his life addicted to narcotic drugs and  alcohol, abusing my mom, my siblings and me–in horrible ways–emotionally, physically and sexually.

Because of God’s healing and hold on me, I am free to let God’s peace flow as a deep and mighty river in my life. My dad’s choices can NOT–and do NOT–hold more power over me than the loving LORD of all the universe–the Redeemer, the Holy One–who teaches me what is best: FORGIVE. Who directs me in the way I should go: FOLLOW JESUS. 

And I am so thankful to the LORD, beyond my ability to even begin to expess it. Thankful that my dad finally let his stubborn heart be convicted and softened by God’s eternal grace and truth. Only by finally listening to the LORD, and letting God hold him, could my dad receive the salvation he so desperately–and eternally–needed.

Four years after my dad “let God hold” him, he died.

My sister, my brothers, our spouses and our children gathered to pray and thank God for who He is–and that Jesus has the power to redeem and give peace to each life. Right now, and for all eternity, if only…we would choose it.

We released my dad’s ashes into the river that ran through our childhood property.

God had already welcomed my dad Home–to listen to, be held by, and to walk with his LORD forever along the banks of the River of Life. In peace.

In love, peace and purposeful passion,                                                               Sylane