Saturday, April 30, 2016

RICARDO NAVALTA -- 88 1/2 Earth-Years

Uncle Ric isn't even my Dad -- so WHY am i mourning over his death MORE than i did over my own father's death?

On Sunday, April 17, uncle Ric was rushed to Sharp's E.R. He was in ICU for three days, then Comfort Care until he passed away, Saturday, April 23. But prior to this, Uncle Ric was in and out of hospital- and rehab-stays, due to a bad fall late January. i saw Mom's faithfulness first hand as she visited him every day, even staying overnight during the last two nights before Uncle died.

When i finally visited Uncle at the last rehab facility, he was almost comatose and was driven into Sharp's ER, where he was stabilized and hospitalized a couple weeks and then back to the same rehab facility. Visiting Uncle more often -- giving him massages and helping out with his occupational therapy (playing blackjack with him...LOL!), i got to see the stage of life when we become SO dependent, SO helpless, SO fragile. i saw Uncle at his weakest... and it wrenched at my heart.

At Sharp's ER, in a private room, i sang "HE's got the whole world in His hands" over and over. And all throughout the week, i sang this song to Uncle -- also telling him of JESUS' love for him and that there's no need to fear when he has CHRIST at his side. i shared with him Biblical truths about heaven -- that "GOD Himself will wipe away every tear from his eyes; there'll be no more death, or sorrow, or crying. There'll be no more pain. ALL these things are gone forever." (Revelation 21:4)

Many were praying for Uncle's recovery... even for a miracle. On Tuesday, April 19, this flower bloomed in the backyard garden that Mom and Uncle tended together. GOD spoke to me through His creation -- how fearfully and wonderfully made is each soul! And yet how brief is our time on earth... "Our days on earth are like grass; like wildflowers, we bloom and die. The wind blows, and we are gone--as though we had never been here." (Psalm 103:15-16) For a brief time, on this Tuesday, uncle Ric "bloomed" -- became conscious of his surroundings -- of family and friends who came to visit him. He was himself, though but a weak shadow, about to fade away...

The days of our lives are seventy years;
and if by reason of strength they are eighty years,
Yet their boast is only labor and sorrow;
for it is soon cut off and we fly away.
(Psalm 90:10)

ALL flesh is grass. 
And all its loveliness is like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
Because the breath of the LORD blows upon it;
Surely the people are grass.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
But the Word of our GOD stands forever.
(Isaiah 40:6-8)
By GOD's grace, i shared the Good News with Uncle -- that he can receive peace with GOD through CHRIST JESUS, the Son of GOD. JESUS Himself said, "I AM the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one can come to the FATHER except through Me." (John 14:6) And it is written: "ALL have turned away; ALL have become corrupt. No one does good, not a single one!" (Psalm 14:3) EVERYone has sinned -- we ALL fall short of GOD's glorious standard." (Romans 3:23)

Keeping it very simple, i explained to Uncle that we ALL have done wrong things in our lives, and we need to be forgiven by GOD through JESUS' death on the cross... that He takes away our sins by dying for us, that he rose from the grave and is now in heaven. i told Uncle not to be afraid, that all he has to do is to call out, even if it's just in his mind -- "JESUS, help me!"

Uncle Ric was able to say, "GOD, forgive me..."

During this week of watching Uncle slowly fade away, i read to him Psalm 23 and Psalm 139. Though he was unable to speak, i prayed that GOD would allow Uncle to hear and understand and be reassured that the LORD JESUS is the Good Shepherd who will walk with him through this valley of the shadow of death... that He will make him to lie down in green pastures and lead him beside still waters... that He will restore His soul!

May GOD have allowed uncle Ric to also hear and to understand Psalm 139 as i read this Word of TRUTH:

"O LORD, you have examined my heart and know EVERYthing about me. You KNOW when i sit down or stand up. You KNOW my thoughts even when i'm far away. You see me when i travel and when i rest at home. You KNOW EVERYthing i do.

You know what i am going to say even before i say it, LORD. You go before me and follow me. You place Your hand of blessing on my head. Such knowledge is TOO wonderful for me, TOO great for to understand!

i can NEVER escape from Your SPIRIT! i can NEVER get away from Your presence! If i go up to heaven, You are there; if i go down to the grave, You are there. If i ride the wings of the morning, if i dwell by the farthest oceans, even there Your hand will guide me, and Your strength will support me.

i could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night -- but even in darkness i cannot hide from You. To You the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to You.

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb. Thank You for making me SO wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous -- how well i know it. You watched me as i was being formed in utter seclusion, as i was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me BEFORE i was born. EVERY day of my life was recorded in Your book. EVERY moment was laid out before a single day had passed.

How precious to me are Your thoughts, O GOD. They cannot be numbered! i can't even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when i wake up, You are STILL with me!

Search me, O GOD, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out ANYthing in me that offends You, and lead me along the path of everlasting life."

My dad Romeo is gone... so is uncle Ric. Yet Uncle's passing has touched me more deeply. When JESUS experienced the dying of His earthly father Joseph, how much MORE was the pain in His heart! When the apostle John watched His Beloved Teacher and LORD gasping for breath as He agonized on the cross -- how much MORE the apostle's pain! When Mary, the mother of JESUS, watched her Son die that excruciating death on the cross -- how much MORE a mother's pain! 

When GOD the FATHER watched His Only Begotten Son -- the Lamb of GOD, CHRIST JESUS -- being crucified as atonement for our sins, how much MORE... how unfathomable the pain in His heart! "For GOD loved the world SO much that He GAVE His One and ONLY Son, so that EVERYone who believes in Him -- CHRIST JESUS -- will NOT perish but have ETERNAL LIFE." (John 3:16)

For it is written: "My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts," says the LORD.  "And My ways are far beyond anything you can imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so My ways are higher than your ways and My thoughts higher than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:8-9)

So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom!
(Psalm 90:12)
GOD who is LOVE and who is ALL-Wise... He has the whole world in His hands!
Now may the GOD of Hope
fill you with all JOY and PEACE in BELIEVING,
that you may abound in HOPE
by the POWER of the Holy SPIRIT.
(Romans 15:13)