I did call and I was taken back to hear how weak and feeble my father sounded.  He was breathing laboriously and was characteristically stubborn as I probed foranswers. He did NOTwant any of us coming there and he did NOT want surgeryand he did NOT want pity! I left him with a prayer and a challenge to take some type of action. Two days later, he admitted himself to the Miami Veteran’s Hospital and agreed to open heart surgery. I initiated a few prayer chains and then called family. The phone calls to the hospital room of my independent, sometimes aloof Father began to stream in. His children, his siblings, his ex-wife. Many tender words broke through the damn of hurt, regret, and unkept promises. My conversation with him the night before the surgery is one I will not forget. It ended with a powerful truth.

     “God loves you, Daddy.”

     “You better believe it.”

     “ I do, Daddy…. YOU better believe it.”

     The next morning, my father was shaven, prepped and given anesthesia by 7 am.  The cardiologist ordered one more test. Aunt Ida, Uncle Tony and Aunt Mary settled into the waiting room for what they thought would be a dreadfully long day. My sister and I decided to fly down in two shifts to nurse him after his week of hospital recovery. I was told not to expect a call until mid to late afternoon. The phone rang at 10 am. My heart sank. It was Aunt Ida. This time, she sounded kind of dazed and disoriented.

“Your father’s not going to die.”

     “What happened?”

     “They did another test and his valve is healed.”

     “Healed? What kind of healed?”

     “They said it was working at 30% capacity and now it’s over 90%. They cancelled the valve replacement. He’s coming home for lunch. He’s a lucky dog.  “Lucky dog? Lucky dog nothin’! He’s a blessed son of God! He’s a miracle! He’s going to be a testimony! That’s fantastic! Thank you Jesus! God is great!” I did a little jig. Aunt Ida sounded nonplussed.

     The Lord touched my father’s diseased heart. I pray Dad will turn right around and give his healed heart back to the Great Physician who is really the only One we can trust with our hearts. The phone rang again. A dear friend called to say she had prayed that my father would not die before he commits his life—heart, mind, and soul— to Jesus. 

          Lord, hear our prayer.