It was Bill Hybels book The Power of a Whisper that got me thinking about God-whispers—these whispers into our soul-ears that can alter a moment, a heart, a future. I remembered a whisper I’d once heard.
In August of 2005, I was away at college and driving home from my part-time job when I heard the Father’s whisper regarding my father. Idled at a stoplight, I stared into the glaring red and felt this deep impression, this gentle Holy-Spirit-nudging in my heart: I want you to call your dad every evening after work.
I picked up the phone, and I continued to pick up the phone each evening. I’d pass that stoplight, and if I wasn’t already doing so, I’d call my dad. A man of many thoughts but few words, I knew there would never be much to say.
Sometimes, our conversations would only last two minutes, but they would begin with a warm hello and end with an I love you.
One night after work, I arrived home to find his white Chevy pickup parked outside of my house (an hour’s drive from my hometown). He was sitting in the driver’s seat; he’d come to take me out for ice cream. I’ll never forget that night—sitting in his Chevy, eating Cold Stone ice cream. We shared few words but a moment I’ll remember for a lifetime.
During this time of phone calls every night, my dad and I didn’t grow profoundly closer, and our conversations never really got deeper or longer, but each evening I heard his voice and he heard mine. Each evening our conversation ended with I love you.
On November 25, 2005, the day after Thanksgiving, my brother and I left my dad’s house to visit my mom. Dad slipped me $20 for gas, kissed my forehead, and said, “Goodbye, Pumpkin. I love you.”
Those were the last words I ever heard my dad speak, even though he would be with us for a while longer.
Dad’s brain began to bleed that day, and he experienced stroke-like symptoms. He lost movement on the right side of his body and lost his ability to speak. His brain bled because there was this powerful, invading army conquering organs—like territory—throughout his body. This army didn’t wave a white flag of surrender.
From that day in November until dad passed away in May, he could only make sounds. For six months, I didn’t hear a hello or an I love you, didn’t hear a full word or sentence from my father. Because of what the cancer did, he didn’t just lose his words, but his ability to write.
There was no letter filled with advice, there were no last words—just the raspy sounds of last breaths.
What I did have was a series of frequent, past phone calls tucked into the hope chest of my heart, a series of words spoken throughout my life that I tried to recall.
There was a whisper from a Father about a father.
God knew what those four months of phone calls leading up to my dad’s diagnosis would mean. He gave me my father’s voice—in advance.
His whisper was a gift of love. His whispers are a gift of love.
These powerful God-whispers that speak quietly to our souls are missed if our souls aren’t quieted down.
Shh . . .
Shh . . .
Lest we miss them.