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His Blessed Assurance

Chris and Deon Unthank at Chris’ wedding – August 27, 2021

Admittedly, I was much closer to my mother than my father. I was the youngest of five children from a blended family and was the baby of our bursting-at-the seams tribe. My mother doted on me and snuggled with me at any chance she got. She even tried to keep this up well in to my teenage years. Even in the hospital, knowing she only had a few hours left on this earth, she tried to get me to jump in the bed with her and snuggle one last time. (It should be noted that I was 31 years old at the time.)

Even through this, my father would typically just roll his eyes. He might make a snide comment here or there about me always getting my way. There are many people in this world that would let jealousy overtake them in those instances (yes, even when it was their own child), and try to maneuver themselves into the position where they received the attention. But Dad didn’t really have to do that. He knew that, ultimately, his place was right beside her. Companions for life. No matter how much my mother seemingly adulated or fawned over me, he knew her undying love was ultimately for him.

I have a lot of memories of my Dad singing as a child, and his “signature song” was always the Gospel classic “The Lighthouse.” However, as he got older and joined my sister and I on stage, his new go-to was “Blessed Assurance.” I think as he aged and his faith journey was coming full-circle, the words of this beautiful hymn started ringing truer with the passing of each day. “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! Oh what a foretaste of glory divine!” He sang with such conviction that often times I’d forget it was this old man who raised me and all I’d hear were the eternal truths this song possesses. Gone were the memories of correction and arguments and struggles through the years. Rather, all I heard was the voice of a man who had a hope and assurance in a Savior, and he knew what the future held for him because of that hope.

After mom died, my relationship with Dad had a real ebb-and-flow to it, mostly depending on his relationship status at the time. However much it bobbed back and forth between “we’re super tight” to “I haven’t heard from Dad in three months,” I was always aware of his love for me and family. That never changed. Much like the assurance he had that my mother was truly where all the affection lied, I could always rest assured that Dad’s love didn’t change.

I remember sitting in the hospital room. Again, having to watch as another parent prepared to meet his creator. Someone asked if I could sing while we waited for him to pass to eternity. Of course, I couldn’t do it, but had I had the voice that day, I believe I would have immediately found the words to “Blessed Assurance.”

Dad didn’t have to worry about a chubby little five year old. He knew that Mom’s affections ultimately led back to him. I never had to worry that my father didn’t care for me and my siblings or my own children. I had a deep assurance of that love. And at the end of his life as COVID-19 was wearing his lungs down minute-by-minute, Dad rested in HIS blessed assurance. Jesus was his. He was bound for glory divine.

Hebrews 10:22-23 (CSB) says, “let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water. Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, since he who promised is faithful.”

What an amazing testament to the goodness and faithfulness of God. Dad had that assurance, and how very grateful I am to have learned of that assurance myself.