Lessons From Uncle Dave, Part II
A Time To Repent
Dave was only 60-years old when he died...but his body had been put through the equivalent of 100 years. The first 57 years of his life Dave lived hard, embracing the saying "let's eat and drink for tomorrow we die lifestyle." His priorities were way out of line - "having fun" was number one on the list...and if that meant quitting a job in order to have fun, so be it!
In his quest for entertainment he sacrificed a lot of things. He sacrificed his marriage...and he sacrificed a relationship with his son, Tracy. Tracy is a great guy. He loves his dad - always has, always will despite the way he was absent from most of his life.
But Tracy knew that the way his dad was living was unacceptable, and he wasn't going to subject his children to that sort of example. He told Dave that, and Dave quit EVERYTHING.
But that wasn't the only change Dave made. He knew that if he didn't replace the bad things he was doing with good things, the temptation to drift back into old habits would be great. So Dave began going to church. Not every Sunday...but occasionally. More and more he realized church was a good place for him to be.
Four days before Dave died he was lying motionless in his hospital bed. The family had been gathered as nurses felt he could be in his last hours. My mother-in-law, not wanting Dave to die without someone holding his hand, went to his side and whispered to him, "We're here, and we love you."
Instantly Dave's eyes opened, and he sat up in bed. He asked everyone to gather around him and hold hands...a HUGE request for the Stonebarger family. Not wanting to hurt his feelings, they did so. Then Dave said, "I want to pray." And he prayed...and he prayed...and he prayed. It was a prayer of penitence and confession. Dave confessed everything he had ever done to his brothers and sisters. At the end of the prayer there wasn't a dry eye in the joint. And that was about the last time Dave ever had much to say.
Dave's prayer wasn't just for him. Rather it was for his entire family. Dave loved having his family around him...and he didn't want that to be the last time they would all be together. His prayer was his message to them to get their lives in order by repenting of the way they had been living.
Next "time" - a time to be restored.