by Pastor Andy Lambel
As I sit in my office and think about Father’s Day and what it means to me, I’m taken back to a day that I will never forget.
It was Thanksgiving Day 2008. I was at home after eating Thanksgiving lunch with some friends in Bell City, MO (SE MO). I noticed a message on the answering machine. It was from my cousin informing me that my dad had suffered a massive stroke and was at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City. I jumped in my car and drove from Southeast Missouri to Kansas City.
Upon arrival I learned that dad’s condition was very serious and that he probably would not make it through the night. I was asked about directives and I had to make a lot of very difficult decisions. It was at this time that I put all my trust in my God who loves me more than anything else.
I’m reminded of what Jesus had to say in Matthew 11:30, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens and I will give you rest.”
So I prayed over my dad and I told God that if this was my dad’s time then it was okay because I knew where he was going.
After calling my wife, Jeanne, I went into the waiting room and just kind of hung out. My dad’s sister was on the way and would be there shortly.
A little after midnight, the doctor came and got me and my Aunt Sandy and told us that they couldn’t find a pulse. We went into the room where the doctors and nurses were working on my dad.
I began praying for God to be with my dad and I prayed again that if this was his time then so be it. As I was praying, a shot went through my body and suddenly I was given the strength to stand straight up. As I did, I looked into the room where dad was and I visibly saw angels flying above my dad’s bed.
I believe they were waiting for the doctors to finish working on dad. It was at that time that the doctor came to me and said, “This is the time we would administer medicine to get the pulse back.” I said, “No, my dad is ready to go.” And so they finished what they were doing and left so that my and aunt and I could sit with dad. I sat next to my dad and held his hand and told him everything would be okay and that he should just go on.
At that time the angels left and I then visibly saw the hand of God take my dad to heaven. What I experienced that night was an act of grace that most people will never experience. I saw my dad go to heaven and I know that one day I will be reunited with my father. And so even though Father’s Day is still a bit tough, I also rejoice knowing where my dad is and who he’s with.
The really cool thing is that the very weekend before he passed away, we were able to be together in Branson; the whole family – my wife, Jeanne, our kids, Allen and Lisa and Jeanne’s parents. We went to Silver Dollar City and rode roller coasters which I had never seen him do before. We went to the Sight and Sound Theater and saw the production of Noah together and did all sorts of other things that brings me back to realizing what a blessing I had in my dad.
John 1:16 – “From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another.”
Pastor Andy Lambel is golf pro turned United Methodist preacher. After working in the golf industry for 6 years, Pastor Andy felt the call to serve as a minister. He has been serving in the ministry full time for 11 years and is currently the pastor at Cassville United Methodist Church. He has been married to his wife, Jeanne, for 27 years and they have 2 children: Allen (17) and Lisa (15).