As Pchum Ben holidays draw near, my heart goes home, and I feel a little down. It's absolutely nothing to do with the actual holiday, but more because it reminds me, that it was on the Monday morning, just after the Pchum Ben holidays in 2007 (my first year in Cambodia), that I was woken at 5am by a phone call to tell me my Dad had gone home to be with our Lord.
It's interesting that it should be this particular holiday that reminds me of his leaving us, because for the Khmer people, this holiday is all about feeding the ghosts of your deceased relatives, and making sure they are happy. I'm so grateful that, because of what Jesus did for us, I do not have to deal with anything like that. In fact, I know exactly where my Dad is, and am certain, without a doubt, that he is at peace, and enjoying life beyond anything we can imagine. He's with his Lord, and I know that one day, I'll get to see him again! I know that, because the Bible tells me it is true. I know the Bible's true because God has proven it to me again and again. God's the epitomy of trustworthiness! He can be trusted when no-one else can.
Since the Pchum Ben holidays are based on the lunar calendar, it's actually another two weeks until the anniversary of Dad's death, but I can't help but think of him at this time. Four years on, I still miss him, and I know Mum misses him even more, but I wouldn't wish him back either. Dad's last 16 months were not easy, as he battled stomach cancer, but through it all he never lost hope, and I know that God blessed him and used him during those months. I know that in all things, he knew that God was in control, even if he didn't like the way things were going.
I also thank God that neither Dad or I had to earn our place in heaven. Jesus paid the price for both of us, and so many others as well. Thank you Jesus. Thank you for your peace which passes all understanding, even in the face of loss and grief. Thank you!