Dad Died with Dirt on His Hands - Tim Challies

Not many people get to die the best way we wished. However my dad did. A person of the earth, he had an ideal ardour for vegetation, a love for flowers and timber and all method of flora. He noticed the wonder in every of them, the distinctive promise each one held to make this world just a bit brighter, a bit extra stunning. He dedicated the perfect a part of his life to gardening, and although he was gifted at designat analyzing what an area was and imagining what it may behe particularly liked the work itself. Dad, youre 70, we might inform him. Youve received to cease working so arduous. However work was what he knew and work was what he liked. He advised us he could be content material to die if solely he may die with filth on his palms.

Within the hours after his loss of life, my sister despatched me a photograph of his handshis Working Man Arms. And, positive sufficient, they had been stained with darkish, Georgia mud. He had spent the higher a part of the day laying flooring within the condo he and my mom had been about to maneuver intoa shiny little walk-out within the basement of my sisters home. After which, earlier than he headed dwelling for the day, he paused to plant some tulip bulbs in her entrance yard. He had envisioned the spot the place a splash of colour would brighten the backyard when winter finally gave technique to spring. And it was there, and it was then, that it occurred. He died by a backyard. He died with filth on his palms.

I rushed all the way down to be with my familya flight from Toronto to Atlanta, and a drive from Atlanta to Dalton. After I lastly arrived I used to be requested if I want to go to the hospital to view his physique, to see him one final time. I opted to not. I opted to not as a result of I dont care to have my last reminiscence of my father to be there and to be that. Ive received one other reminiscence I wish to maintain on to.

A couple of months earlier than dad died, he reached his seventieth birthday, and my sisters threw him a celebration. A lot of his favourite individuals had been ready to shock him and to have a good time the event. However I wasnt considered one of them. Not but. Flight schedules and Atlanta site visitors meant that I’d be late. However after I did arrivethis is my reminiscence: He noticed me from throughout the yard, his face lit up, and he gasped my identify in shock and delight. Now, I spotted, his shock was full. Now his occasion was full. He was a father delighted to see his son. And Im blissful to carry on to that reminiscence, a minimum of till the time we will get again to creating new reminiscences collectively.

I believeI consider right this moment greater than everthat there may be life past loss of life. I consider that my father has not ceased to be. Moderately, his soul has merely left his physique for a time. Because the Sage as soon as mentioned, The mud returns to the earth because it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. Although his physique is now empty and decaying, his soul is being fastidiously saved by God himselfthe God who gave him life after which, via the gospel of Jesus Christ, gave him new life.

That gospel, that excellent news, guarantees a day will come when all might be renewed and all might be made proper. Souls might be reunited with our bodies and relationships separated by loss of life might be restored. There might be a brand new heaven and a brand new eartha new earth that, like this one, will should be cared for. And although I dont know precisely how issues will work there, Im fairly positive I do know simply the place I’ll be capable to observe down my dad. I count on I’ll discover him in a backyard someplace, surrounded by flowers, sleeves rolled up, and, positive sufficient, filth on his palms.


John Beaumont Challies was born on June 3, 1949 in Montreal, Quebec, the son of The Honorable George S. Challies and Ethel Beaumont. He earned a B.A. in philosophy at Bishops College. Throughout his last 12 months there he got here to religion in Christ via his good pal, Don Lewis. He then earned two additional degreesa B.Ed from Queens College and an M.Div from The Theological Faculty of the Canadian Reformed Church buildings.

Regardless of his levels, John’s biggest love was working within the soil. “Subduing the earth” was his delight. Though he spent a lot of his life creating stunning gardens, his pursuits had been many and various. His favourite pastimes had been cooking, ethnography, studying extensively, and leisure gardening. He liked wordplay and had an ideal humorousness.

Wehis spouse, youngsters, and grandchildrenwill miss him vastly. He taught and led us properly within the methods of Christ.

We at the moment are separated, however just for a time.

Come, Lord Jesus.

Mother, dad, and the 5 children





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