“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” (Psalm 116:15)
I had to think of this verse from the Psalms almost three weeks ago (January 31) when we learned that my father-in-law, Kenneth Barber, had passed away. He was in Kampala, Uganda, visiting one of his granddaughters and her family, had spent ten enjoyable days with them, and passed away within a few hours of being found unwell and taken to the hospital by them in the morning.
He was a Christian of a very conservative and narrow “Brethren” persuasion, and in the course of my acquaintance with him I have had many theological disagreements with him, some expressed and discussed, and some put out of mind for the sake of peace, but one thing that always impressed me was his seriousness about his faith. The picture above, taken by his daughter Daphne on the morning of his departure for Uganda, is typical of his disciplined habit of reading his Bible, every morning, without fail.
My father-in-law was almost ninety years old, still had all his faculties, and God took him before he had to make the painful decision to give up his independence in the form of his house and his car, and without a drawn-out, debilitating or painful illness.
Geraldine and I, as well as our children, will leave in a couple of days to drive to England and join his other two daughters and their families and friends to lay him to rest.
Daddy will be missed, but it is a comfort to know that he lived with the conviction that, as the Apostle Paul expressed it, “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” (2 Cor 5:8 [Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)] )