Your Father Left This Message

There is nothing impressive about the stationery. No embossed letters. No watermark. No heavy stock paper. No logo. Just a sheet of yellow legal-pad paper, the top of which is jagged from the tear.

There is nothing impressive about the handwriting. There used to be. As a child, I tried to imitate it. But you wouldn't want to imitate this penmanship; you'd be hard-pressed to decipher it. Angled lines. Irregular letters and inconsistent spacing.

But it was the best my father could do. Lou Gehrig's disease had so weakened his hands he could scarcely bring a fork to his mouth, much less write words on a page. Imagine writing with all your fingers wrapped around the pen, and you're close to understanding his challenge.

It was the final letter he wrote us. The ALS and cold weather had nearly killed him. Denalyn and I had rushed home from Brazil and spent a month eating hospital food and taking shifts at his, bedside. He rebounded, however, so we returned to South America. A day or so after arriving, we received this letter.

January 19, 1984

Dear Max and Denalyn,

We were glad you all made it home OK. Now settle down and go to work. We enjoyed your trip to no end. Even your spending the nights with me. MAX, YOU AND DENALYN ALWAYS STICK TOGETHER, WHATEVER HAPPENS. Well, there is no need of me scribbling. I think you know how much I love you both. You all just live good Christian lives and FEAR GOD.

I hope to see you all again on earth-if not, I will in heaven. Lots of love,


I've envisioned my father writing those words. Propped up in a hospital bed, pen in hand, pad on lap. Thinking this would be his final message. Do you suppose he chose his words carefully? Of course he did.

Can you envision trying to do the same? Can you imagine your final message to those you love? Your last words with a child or spouse?

What would you say? How would you say it?

Even if you can't answer the first question, you can answer the second. How would you say your final words? Deliberately. Carefully. Wouldn't you go as Monet to a palette-searching for, not just the right color, but the perfect shade, the exact hue? Most of us have only one chance to make our last statement.

That's all Jesus was given. Knowing his last deeds would be forever pondered, don't you think he chose them carefully?

Deliberately? Of course he did. There were no accidents that day. Jesus' last moments were not left up to chance. God chose the path; he selected the nails. Our Lord planted the trio of crosses and painted the sign. God was never more sovereign than in the details of the death of his Son. As deliberately as my father wrote the letter, so your Father left this message:

"I did it for you. I did it all for you."

He Chose The Nails, p. 149 - 151. Copyright. W Publishing, 2000,Max Lucado. Used by permission.

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