The Back Page – Good Night, Good Bye

The Back Page

Good Night, Good Bye

A father lying on his death bed asked to see his three adult sons one last time. After a few minutes of
rehearsing old family jokes to ease the awkwardness, the father turned to his eldest. “Son, I want you to
know how proud of you I am. You have been in my heart since before you were born. One of my greatest
joys has been to see you grow into the man you are. Not only a man, but a man of God. You love and lead
your family well. I remember all the fishing and hiking we have done together, and would love to get
back in the woods one last time. But that is not to be. God bless you, son. Good night for now. I’ll see you
in the morning.”
Looking at his second, the father continued. “You also, son. You are different from your older
brother, but I love you just as much. I am so proud of all of your study and learning. I confess I don’t
understand all you talk about sometimes, but know that you have not formed your ideas casually. I am
thankful that, having opened your heart to Christ as a boy, you have faithfully followed him. The church
where you teach Sunday School is so blessed to have you. Keep going, son. Wish I could sit in class
under your teaching one last time. Good night for now. I’ll see you in the morning.”
Then to his youngest. “It is hard to imagine how one man could be so blessed. God has given me
three sons whom I love with all my heart. Even though you have chosen to not follow Jesus Christ, as
have your brothers, I am just as proud of you as I am of them, and just as glad that you are my son. You
are a man who knows his mind and is not intimidated by others. You will no doubt succeed in whatever
you put your hand to. Wish I had additional time with you as well, so that we could enjoy some more
big-league sports together. Good bye, son. Your mother and I loved you very much.”
A pause.
With a catch and a tear the third blurted out, “Dad. Why do you say ‘Good Night’ to them but ‘Good
Bye’ to me?”
“You know why, son. Eternal life is not something anyone can earn for himself. Up till now you
have refused the one who can give it to you. This need not be ‘Good Bye’. The choice is yours.”

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