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Father's Day

As a child and a young adult, I worshiped my father. He was my rock, my daddy and my idol. He taught me so much: how to love others, how to be a person of integrity in business, and how to handle friendships and life. I idolized him.

As Father’s Day approaches and I look back on my life with my earthly father, I am reminded of when my idolization of my father took a turn. It was Memorial Day weekend 1989, and I got the call early that morning that my father had suffered a massive heart attack and coded. He

was in his 40s. My mother called saying that they air-evacuated him to Springfield, Missouri. He had been speaking at a conference the night before at the Lake of the Ozarks. I remember the call and the devastation I felt. I needed to get to him right away.

After many hours in the car rushing to Springfield, I finally reached him and was told that he died, had been revived and was now in intensive care. From that moment on, my life took a swift turn. The man that I idolized, loved and admired almost died. Those next days with him in intensive care, I realized how short life really was and how I just could not lose him.

The worry and the sorrow engulfed me. During those days of uncertainty God was beginning to gently show me that I had set my earthly father on the pedestal where only God belongs. The idolization of my father was not a healthy situation. I had idolized my father to the point that I felt like MY life would be over without him.

Walking into the room and seeing the charred marks on his chest I was overwhelmed with the “What ifs?”. What if I lost him? What if he was not the person I knew before? These thoughts kept running through my head. I had paralyzed myself with grief and fear which only intensified, ironically, as he was released from the hospital to return home.

On the drive home we stopped in St. Louis - where I lived at the time - to spend the night. I remember that night trembling with fear that I might lose him. When I got him settled in my guest bedroom, he wanted to talk with me. I will never forget this moment. He was sitting there on the side of the bed, with tears in his eyes, reassuring me he was not afraid to die. He said I would be alright without him. He knew he was going to heaven and told me he was not afraid to die.

In his vulnerability, I was gently reminded that I was putting my earthly father in a heavenly spot where only God should be. My sweet dad, in so many words, was trying to explain that to me.

When I realized that the fear of losing him was blocking my relationship with my Heavenly Father it was a defining moment in my faith.

Years later I ended up losing my dad to a heart attack. It was very hard to let him go. But because of the prior events from his first heart attack, God had better prepared me to accept this loss. I knew I had my Heavenly Father on the throne, not my earthly one.

For those of you who have no father, or have been disappointed by your father, or, like me, put your earthly father on a throne where only God should be.... remember that our Father in heaven is our Father. He never disappoints us or hurts us and He walks alongside us with all of our difficulties and troubles.

He wants to be the Father of our life.

Happy Father’s Day

Below was my daily devotional on September 14, 2006, the morning my father, James R. Sides, passed away and entered heaven. How sweet it was that my Heavenly Father gave me this gift of assurance where he was.

Heading for Heaven

John 14:1

Do you believe Jesus is trustworthy? You probably answered that question with a resounding “YES!” However, is this vibrant faith evident in your response to heartaches and adversity?

In John 14:2-4, Jesus assures His disciples that He will prepare a place for them in heaven. Moreover, He promises them that He will return one day and bring them to the glorious mansion prepared for them. At that time, all of the world’s troubles will fall away, completely replaced by Jesus’ preparations in heaven. That sounds like wonderful news!

Yet, isn’t it interesting how Jesus couches His promise? He tells them, “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me” (John 14:1). “Troubled”? Why would Jesus frame the promise of heaven with an encouragement about trouble?

The Lord intimately knows the power of adversity. Because He experienced the full range of human emotion, He knew that hardships can easily distract us from our faith in God. When He spoke these words in John 14, the idea of betrayal was fresh on the disciples' minds. (John 13:21-27) Jesus realized that they were heading toward even more heartache than that soon (14:16:29), so He gives them a glimpse of the finish line.

Early Light

We can take Jesus’ words to the disciples as a reminder that the “here and now” is not all we have to look toward. No matter what life throws at us, we know we will, in the end, be heading for Heaven. At that time, the trials will be over, and what remains will be the celebration…forever.

*Site the source

Charles Stanley


Becky Sides-Harding met her husband, John Harding, at the University of Missouri where they both graduated and have been married for 28 years. They have three children Caroline, JD and Kate, and recently became grandparents. Becky co-owns Area Properties Real Estate - River Region, which currently partners with two local foster nonprofits. She has served in many different capacities at the United Methodist church, and is passionate about third world missions, particularly in Haiti.


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