Thursday, 19 June 2008

In memory of my father

Georg Schmid (1928-1998)

Ten years ago today, my father passed away. I remember him with great affection and want to take this anniversary as an opportunity to briefly look back at his life.

My father was born on 23 November 1928 in Schriesheim, Germany, into a Christian family as the youngest of five children. He was only 10 years old when World War II broke out and towards the end of the war, he had to help in the defence against English and American attacks. After the war was over, my father was able to finish school and study. He was very gifted in languages and found a job in the public sector with the Deutsche Bundespost (later Deutsche Telekom). He was very active in his church, reaching out, in particular, to Spanish and Turkish immigrants and sharing the love of Christ with them. While on a trip to Spain, my father met an English Christian lady, soon to become his wife and my mother.

My parents married in England and then went back to Germany where they continued to minister to Spanish people and started the Spanish-speaking church in Darmstadt. In addition to his job and the work in the church, my father also was a member of the Gideons International and helped start the Darmstadt camp (for more information on the Gideons, see my blog post from May this year). My father loved sharing God's Word with people and telling them about the love of Jesus. Although generally a quiet and reserved person, he was a bold witness for Christ and had a burning desire to help people find salvation in the Lord Jesus.

While nobody is perfect, I believe I could not have asked God for a better father. He was a channel of God's self-sacrificing love to me and taught me to fear God and showed me what it means to give away your own life and follow Christ.

After battling with cancer, my father went home to heaven to be with his Lord on 19 June 1998. It was very difficult for me to experience this loss at a still relatively young age. His funeral was the day after my final oral Abitur exam at high school. But God gave me the strength I needed to carry on. I remember my tears, but what I remember even more is that during this time, God was closer to me than ever before. The Bible says, "Draw nigh to God and he will draw nigh to you" (James 4:8) and I found that to be true. If we seek God with our whole heart, we will find Him (Jeremiah 29:13) and we will be overwhelmed by His greatness and goodness and love and comfort. That's why trials in life can be a good thing if they bring us closer to God where we will find everything our soul is longing for and seeking to place its trust in. Psalm 42:11 says, "Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God." The song I most remember my father singing and playing on the piano or organ is a wonderful reflection of this truth. (As far as I know, there is no English version of the song, so I have translated it from the original German text.)

Lord, because Your strong hand holds me,
I quietly trust.
Because You turned to me full of love,
I quietly trust.
You make me strong, You give me joyful courage.
I praise you. Your will, Lord, is good.

Lord, because I know that You are my Saviour,
I quietly trust.
Because You became the Lamb for me,
I quietly trust.
Because You rescued me from death,
Mould Your lamb-like character deep inside of me.

Lord, because You are now pleading for me to the Father,
I quietly trust.
Because You are standing at my right hand to help me,
I quietly trust.
If the enemy threatens me, I look to You.
You, oh Lord, are a place of refuge for me.

And if the future is hidden from my view,
I quietly trust.
Since I know that Your plan will be fulfilled,
I quietly trust.
If I see no more than just the next step,
it is enough for me! My Lord Himself is going with me.