Charles Paige Brook (3/24/20-12/9/99) Rescued through God's amazing grace!
Shared by his daugher: Nancy Brook Shields
My dad was a professional flutist with New York Philharmonic but out of WWII he became a self-proclaimed atheist and skeptic. He had a gift for living for today to the fullest with no thought of the issues of tomorrow. He was cheerful, generous to a fault and well read in everything except the Bible. Our family was dysfunctional probably more so because of the musician working hours. We rarely saw Dad and there were many broken promises which led to bitterness on my part and many years of independent living from my family.
At the age of 33, my life changed as I was born-again through my personal commitment to Christ. God took away all my anger and filled me with an awesome love for my family, especially for my father. My deepest desire was to share God’s gift with my dad. However, he immediately rejected me and my faith for many years. After 22 years of praying and trying to connect, Dad softened as age and illness began to show up in the latter part of his life. He and his wife, Alice, had retired to Texas. I can remember one day after he was diagnosed with leukemia he said, “I wish I had your faith and belief, but I am a humanist and cannot change”. He had heard God’s message many times through many sources including my own personal dramatic change which he attributed to my self-control. But when I reminded him it wasn’t me but Jesus in me that made the difference and answers were in the Bible, he would just draw back. He was so well read but never even read the Gospel of John in the Bible or so he claimed.
A little while later we had a talk that I think was a turning point for him. He was finally asking questions about the Bible being God’s Word. He quickly changed the argument to the seeming “intolerance” I was showing because around the world many worship god in their own way but I said there is only one way. I reminded him that I was only quoting Jesus who said, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no man comes to the father but by me.” (John 14:6) To make the point, I pointed to a glass of water on the table and said, “what if that glass had pure undetectable poison in it and I drank it down because I was so thirsty, what would happen to me?” Dad said, “You’d die of course.” I said, “Why? I believed it is water so why should I die?” Out of his own mouth his response was “Nancy, it doesn’t matter what you believe unless what you believe is the truth. The truth is the glass was poison and not water.” I picked up the Bible and said, “You are exactly right!! The Bible is the truth that gives you peace – there is a heaven, there is a hell and the only way to get right with God and know eternal life is through accepting Christ because He provided the one way out with His own life’s blood 2000 years ago. We just have to receive and accept it of our own free will.”
Although he still refused to let me open the Bible, he remembered a verse he always knew as I sang “For God so loved the world… “(John 3:16, 17) a song my mother used to sing. As I explained what the verse meant and especially to him, he said I never knew it was God’s promise or why it was so special. We were interrupted at that point but he promised to look into the book of John before I left.
Months later the disease of leukemia took him with a vengeance. I spent more time as a plasma donor and wanted to keep Alice company during dad’s time in hospital in San Antonio. Through the weeks that followed, God allowed my brother, Mitch, to spend time with Dad sharing his faith in Christ and listening to dad’s fears about dying. He was also able to point him to God’s unfailing promises in the Bible. We took turns flying in and out as he went through chemo and other procedures but his body was not very strong.
I received a panic call from my brother saying dad was in a coma and the medical staff was suggesting hospice since he was not expected to even regain consciousness. I immediately booked a flight and arranged for my son to join us later. As I flew back I remember an amazing peace and a verse from Jeremiah replaying in my head: “Call on me and I will answer thee and show thee great and might things thou knowest not.” (Jer. 33:3). God was still in control!! Have you ever prayed for someone so long you almost didn’t believe it would be answered? But God was listening.
As soon as I landed I told Mitch we had to go the hospital and see dad now! While Mitch’s wife kept Alice company, we raced to the hospital. Moving through the halls, nurses and doctors stopped to tell us there was no hope and don’t even bother visiting in ICU because it was too late. I firmly requested they step aside and allow us private time with our dad.
As we entered the room, dad had tubes and monitors running everywhere. His hands and arms were so swollen it was like holding a balloon. He seemed totally out of it, but when I called his name to my surprise he opened his eyes and tried to talk and lift his head, but the tubes were in the way. We worked out a signal with hand squeezing- once for yes and two for no so we could communicate. He seemed very lucid as we asked him questions. Mitch talked to him for a few minutes and handed it over to me.
I remember saying “Dad we love you so much and we want to see you again forever in heaven. Remember God’s promise to you from the Bible? For God so loved PAIGE that He gave his only begotten son (Jesus) that if Paige will believe on Jesus, Paige will not perish but have EVERLASTING LIFE”. He loves you and wants you to be with Him in heaven. We want to see you again too.”
Dad seemed to be listening so I asked him a series of yes and no questions to make sure he could respond and he was still with us. “Dad, will you receive Jesus as your own savior right now? (A squeeze confirmed he was with us) – Can I pray with you right now?” another squeeze yes… I prayed to the Lord, “God you know dad’s heart and mind right now, he is a lost sinner asking for your love and mercy right now. Jesus, dad is asking for forgiveness and accepting you as his personal savior. Thank you for saving him and providing him a forever home in heaven. Amen”
When I stopped praying, Mitch was crying and Dad was still there. The look of peace that passed over his face was amazing as the tears ran down his checks. I asked Dad if he prayed with us and would we see him again in heaven with all the positive responses he gave and the look of peace, God had answered that 22 year prayer and dad was safe in the arms of Jesus. There were several more minutes of before he slipped back into a coma. Within a couple of hours his temperature spiked to 107 and the doctors said he was probably brain dead at the point in time. My son, Billy, came to be at his side and with his nursing experience was a great comfort. For days the doctors kept testing, but there was no recovery and on my birthday, December 8th, we had to make a joint decision to take him off life support.
Dad’s body died December 9, 1999, but I know he lives forever with his Christ in heaven. I can’t wait to see him again. Though I miss him more than words can express, I am at peace knowing my Lord is caring for Dad and I’ll see him again. My brother Mitch is there now after he lost a battle with cancer in sept 11th 2012. I am so grateful God’s long-suffering toward his creation:
The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9