My friend David Serry just died. This is what his daughter Amy wrote.
My dad died last night.
This is going to be a long post, but if you knew David Serry in real life or on Facebook, you know how long-winded he could be. Please read to the end in his honor, if for nothing else. And please don’t call me right now — I don’t trust my voice to speak without sobbing. But I would love your prayers and texts and encouragement. Thank you for the incredible support you have given us thus far.
There is no easy way to write this. Not “he passed away,” as if he just wandered off on a walk. Not “we lost him,” as if he were misplaced and can be found again. Not “the doctors couldn’t save him,” as if it was their job alone and not God’s. My daddy is dead, dead from a broken heart, and I am heartbroken too.
*pause because my eyes are too blurry to see the keyboard*
Yet in the midst of this grief that is so raw and new and worse than anything I’ve experienced before, I find hope.
The photo I’m sharing is a quote from the end of Les Miserables, when Jean Valjean is dying. I re-read parts of it on Tuesday in the hospital garden, because Les Miserables was one of the last books my dad read to me (he kept reading aloud even when I was in junior high and early highschool).
“You think that you are going to be abandoned, dolt? No.”
No no no no no.
Exactly two weeks ago, when we got the news that my dad received his transplanted heart but it wasn’t beating, I was sobbing into my husband’s shoulder and thinking, “No! Not my daddy! Not —”
And then I was interrupted. It was so clear.
“I am your Father.”
Deep and strong and firm, as if Darth Vader’s voice could be kind and gentle and more tender than anything in the world. That made me chuckle a bit through my tears.
Darth Vader is not my father, in case you were wondering.
But God is.
In the Bible, the Greek word Ἀββᾶ is used three times to describe God. It means “Father”, but it is further defined as “the term of tender endearment by a beloved child – i.e. in an affectionate, dependent relationship with their father; ‘daddy,’ ‘papa.’” Twice it is used by Christians crying out to God, but the first time, in Mark 14:36, it’s Jesus talking to His Father in the garden of Gethsemane just before his death:
“Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
And because of His willingness, my dad got the only heart transplant that really matters. And so did I.
In Ezekiel , God promises a transplant:
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”
I talked about that verse with my dad while he was waiting to hear if the transplant was a go or not, and I read it to him in the hospital over and over.
The transplant team said his old heart was enlarged to twice the normal size, and so weak it collapsed on itself when they took it out. It was ruined, useless, and living on borrowed time with the LVAD. He needed that transplant so very much.
The only way we get a transplant is when someone dies. And so it is with God, too. Jesus was the perfect donor. He didn’t die by accident. He did it willingly, to replace our ruined hearts with his perfect one. He wasn’t just a good teacher, he was the only one able to save us.
Hear me, friends.
If you have not had a spiritual heart transplant yet, you need one. Your heart is every bit as dead and useless as my dad’s was. Anything you try to do to make yourself good enough is about as useless as the LVAD and ECMO was for my dad. It won’t save you in the end.
But there is a perfect donor. This transplant will not fail. Please accept it.
Let me leave you with some of the words my dad wrote in his last Facebook post. He was ready:
“This may turn out to be the last night (or month) of my life. Yee Haw, Adios, and Yippie Yi Yo Ty Yay! No, I mean it. Seriously, it’s been a good run. I have been so blessed. … Once they pull out your old heart, there’s no going back. … This may be the Eve of the first day of the rest of my life; the start of a new life. Either more of The Living Years here on earth, or… meeting Jesus, surrounded by His mercy and grace. Cool. One way or the other. …And remember, I want what God wants, whatever that is. If He lets me die, still I will trust Him.”
The book of Revelation describes a river in heaven, clear as crystal, filled with the water of life. I’m sure my dad is already kayaking on it.
Nice… So important for Christians to understand that God allows us to grieve. However, at the same time we should never be lost in it because we have hope in And through Jesus that we will be reunited with our loved ones. We also have the hope that those that have left this world, are just now truly beginning life. Something we’ve not experienced yet. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for the wise words Tim!