The Ultimate Victory

The sun was casting a slight glare on the hardwood floors as I reached for the ringing phone that broke through the silence of my quiet morning. My mother’s voice seemed strained and I soon knew why. “Daddy went to the doctor today and they have found a spot on his lung.” Total silence—I felt an awful weight come upon me and the room seemed to spin. Everything around me felt different to the point I wondered if the earth just missed a rotation of its very axis.

My 63-year-old, 6’ 3”, seemingly healthy dad was scheduled for a biopsy at the end of the week. In waiting room chairs that had held as many fragile hopes and dreams as people, our entire family sat waiting for the results.  To fill the silence, encouraging words were whispered as we held on to our own hopes that things would turn out well.

With each set of footsteps we raised our heads in unison waiting for the doctor. We knew the news would bring a sigh of relief or a gut wrenching pain and we thought we were prepared for either. However when the footsteps stopped and the door opened we could see from the doctor’s expression there would be no sigh of relief.

The tears fell as we asked, “How bad is it?”

“What’s our next step?”

“Are you sure?”

“Is it only in one place?”

“Does he know?” That was the most difficult question to ask. No, he did not know. We braced ourselves to enter his room where the nurses were preparing him to leave.

We walked in and there he was, the leader of our family, joking and telling stories of his travels to the nurses. When they looked at him they smiled. When they looked at us, we could see the sadness in their eyes. They knew, we knew, Daddy did not.

Driving to a nearby restaurant, I watched my parents as they drove alone in front of us. My heart was crying out for the Lord to give them the strength they needed as one spoke and the other listened to what would change their lives.

That was the beginning of an 11-month battle as my dad tried to beat the vicious cancer that weakened his body. With shadows growing longer as we sat around his bed at home, he labored for his last breath. The sun set that night and his life ended. However his life didn’t end there, for he had a new home—heaven—and he had the ultimate victory.

Today is the 12th year of Daddy’s home-going and I can’t help but be reminded of God’s faithfulness. He was faithful through the battle, through the death, and through the grief. There was never any reason to fear, for God walked with us and He still does. Each of our journeys on earth will end one day. I’m so thankful that I too will one day share my dad’s home, a new home—heaven—and I too will have the ultimate victory.

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;” (Psa. 23:4).

John Leland King, Sr.

Dec. 11, 1934 – April 19, 1999


8 responses to this post.

  1. A powerful tribute.
    An impacked filled piece of hope.
    Thanks, Beth.
    Write on.



  2. Posted by Beth on April 19, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    Thanks my friend!


  3. Posted by Elizabeth B. Meaders on April 19, 2011 at 9:57 pm

    Beth, how well I remember. I worked for Leland from August 1973 until April 19, 1999, 26 years. He was a great person to work for and with. His good humor was lifting when I was having a bad day; yet he was so supportive when I received the phone call while at work from Dr. Greg Johnson in March of 1994 telling me I had cancer. Leland was the first person I told. I only told him, Parker, and Lynn Woods who then planned to work in my place for two weeks. Celeste was about to have Miranda and I could not let anything put a damper on that wonderful experience–her first child and my first grandchild. Miranda was born 4/7–a week later while having a dinner here so everyone could meet Miranda, my sister-in-law what the results of my tests were. I then told everyone at once that I was to have surgery in two weeks, a radical hystrectomy. All the cancer was removed; I went back to work in two weeks, and continued to enjoy working for Leland, never dreaming he, too, would have cancer. My Mother, Leland, and Parker, all died with lung cancer. I hate cancer!
    All those who worked with Leland loved him, even those who were jealous of him! He was a special person. I often tell the story of “Leland’s Luncheon” where 37 people wrote they accepted Christ and then Alli added more that Wednesday night by telling his story!
    Blessings to all of you as you continue to celebrate his life!


  4. Thanks Elizabeth for taking the time to share this with me. It’s good to hear (read) things about my Dad. All we have now are the memories and stories. Thanks for keeping his memory alive.


  5. Posted by Steve McConnell on April 20, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    Hey Beth;

    I too worked with Leland at Alexander Machinery. In fact I was with him in Europe when he fell ill with the cancer. We finished our business and I helped get him home. He was truly a remarkable man and a inspiration to those in his shadow. I went to see Leland the day before he died. With great effort though my tears I told him I was a better man for have known him. I still believe it. In fact I still carry one of his business cards in my wallet. So whenever I need a little encouragement, I pull it out and it seems to honestly help. May God bless you, your Mother, and the family as you celebrate your Father in memory.


    • Steve,
      Thank you so much for this comment. Of course his family misses him but it does our hearts good to know that he did make a difference and that he is missed by others. I too have kept one of his business cards!

      Thanks again for the thoughts and words.


  6. Oh Beth, I wish I had checked FB yesterday. What a beautiful tribute to your dad. Your Father’s (and your dad’s) faithfulness shines brightly through you, my friend.


  7. Posted by David Merritt on April 22, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    Hello Beth:

    I also worked with Leland at Alexander Machinery. Whenever I needed guidance or just someone to confide in I knew I could always count on him. I considered him a true friend. I think about him often and feel blessed to have known him.I wish you and your family nothing but the best.


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