I’m sure there are many Christians who die in their sleep and meet Jesus while wearing their pajamas.
But I wonder how many people meet Him wearing pajamas, holding a bowl of chocolate ice cream, fresh from the middle of a Law & Order episode.
I like to think that distinction is my father’s alone. (I also like to believe he found out how that episode ended.)
Though, I’ve no doubt the sight of our Lord’s face was his all consuming thought at that moment.
It seems impossible to believe Monday will mark exactly nine years since my father’s death. It’s hard to think I’ve made it almost a decade without the man who lovingly guided my childhood, instilled my self-confidence, and gave me the gift of a godly heritage.
I remember getting the phone call at college, the hurried rush to the hospital, and the quiet of the room where my father’s earthly body lay still and lifeless.
I was barely out of my teens then. I can’t help looking back and thinking if Dad had lived just one more year, he would have witnessed my graduation from college, the life-long dream he prayed for and sacrificed to achieve. He would have rejoiced at my engagement and proudly walked me down the aisle at my wedding.
I miss him every day, and yet I can’t begrudge a moment of the perfect life he now enjoys in heaven with the only Father who ever loved him unconditionally.
I remember the day I got saved. An evangelist had come to Memorial Baptist Church, and we children were sent to the children’s hour taught by the evangelist’s wife.
Mrs. Gilmore told the story of Christ’s miraculous birth, His death on the cross, His resurrection, and the way to salvation. As I listened, she said something that piqued my five-year-old curiosity.
“Boys and girls, God sent His only Son to die on a cross for you. He loved you so much, even more than your mom or dad, that He sacrificed His perfect Son, so you can put your trust in Him. When you do, you’ll want to live for Him, and someday join Him in heaven.”
When I heard that God loved me even more than my mom and dad, I was speechless. Mainly, because I knew that my parents loved me more than ANYTHING ELSE IN THE WORLD.
My parents had prayed and prayed for my birth for 11 years. I was aware they fully believed my birth was a bona fide miracle.
I had no doubt my parents loved me. They showed me in a million different ways every day. We read books together, played together, and I always felt safe, comforted, and happy.
I had little trouble accepting the concept of a heavenly Father loving and giving unconditionally, since I’d already witnessed that unconditional love from my earthly father.
And perhaps, that is the greatest compliment I can pay him.
I prayed to accept the Lord as my Savior that day, and my parents rejoiced with me, as I raced up and down the church aisles shouting, “I’m saved! I’m saved!”
I miss my dad every day.
I smile wistfully when I see Whoppers, plastic wrap, or Neapolitan ice cream. I remember hundreds of little jokes and good natured teasing. I remember bed time stories, prayers with my parents, and Dad ending every conversation with, “Now don’t forget your daddy loves you!”
I remember hugs, kisses, and peppermint candy. Star Trek and X Files. And, of course, Law & Order.
But most of all what I remember is the man. He didn’t write any books. He never attained fame or fortune. There are no buildings named after him or statues that bear his likeness.
But at his funeral, hundreds of everyday, ordinary people stood in line to pay their respects to a man who cared. A man who loved. A genuine man who lived his life in honesty, sincerity, and the pursuit of bringing glory to His Lord and Savior.
I remember him as God’s gift to me. My father.
My greatest comfort is that I will see him again. Not as my father, but as my brother in Christ. I wait eagerly for that day.
Robert Lawrence Trotter
June 1, 1945 – March 3, 1999
I love you, Dad. And I promise I won’t forget.