Today, Thursday, November 25, 2010, would have been my dad’s 100th birthday. Tom Cunningham has been in heaven seven years now, yet I still miss him and Mom (Jewell) so much. However, something incredible that my nephew Kevin experienced gives me comfort.
It wasn’t long before Dad died (on Tuesday, July 15, 2003) when Kevin went to visit him. He found him asleep in his hospital bed looking pale, shrunken, and decrepit.
Kevin pulled up a chair, took his hand and started singing the Gospel songs his grandpa liked. Kevin closed his eyes as he sang. Then he opened his eyes and saw two tall, dark-skinned men standing on either side of Dad’s bed. They stood looking at Dad with such respect. Kevin said the “men” had some kind of clothing that was covered with dust.
|Jewell and Tom Cunningham|
Then they looked directly into Kevin’s eyes. Somehow they communicated to him without saying a word.
They let him know they weren’t new arrivals who happened to draw guard duty that day. Instead they were Dad’s personal detail. They had been with him every step of his life.
The two “men” let Kevin know they had been there when his grandpa was a five-year-old boy who lost his mother to smallpox. They had also been there when the young preacher struggled to feed his family during the Great Depression.
Kevin understood then that the dust on their clothes had been picked up as they accompanied Dad everywhere for 92 years, as he ministered in 160 countries. And he knew that was why they looked at Dad with such respect.
Kevin understood one more thing. They were waiting for the time they would escort Dad into God’s presence. It wouldn’t be an accident, or just the unraveling of an old, tired body. The exact moment his angels took him home would be at God’s bidding.
I think of this story now on Dad’s 100th birthday. Two and a half months ago we lost our thirty-year-old nephew, Chris Rogers, to a rare cancer. We prayed so hard for his healing, but he passed anyway. His death was so different from my dad’s who died at 92. Yet I believe Chris also left when God summoned him. And he also had his honor guard escorting him home.
In Matthew 10:29 Jesus said, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.” Jesus went on to say that we are far more valuable to God than the sparrows. Comforting words on my dad’s 100th birthday.?
Janice Cunningham Rogers, sister of YWAM founder, Loren Cunningham