Yesterday my husband's grandfather breathed his last breath here on Earth. He also took in His first breath of Heaven. Grandpa wouldn't say so, but I think he was a real hero.
Grandpa was close to ninety-two years old. He had been married for sixty-six years to his wife. He had been following Jesus as Lord and Savior for over seventy years. Grandpa was full of wise cracks and enjoyed teasing those he loved. Even though the last eight months of his life were mostly spent in a bed in his home, his mind was still sharp until the last month or two.
The last time we saw him was a couple of months ago, and during that visit he told my husband he was ready for Jesus to take him home. My husband assured him that as long as he was still here there was a purpose for him and that in the Lord's time he would go home to be with Him. He was at peace because of his relationship with Jesus. He knew his time was coming, and he was ready. What a blessing to have that assurance and joy even in the midst of suffering.
How amazing to spend nearly a lifetime knowing, growing, and serving the LORD! He and Grandma were even missionaries in China for three years before communism came there, and they were forced to leave. He was a pastor until his retirement, and the churches he pastored over the years still send them gifts each year and keep in touch.
How amazing to spend nearly a lifetime - 66 years! - in marriage! What a wonderful example of covenant, of commitment, and of love. They honored their Lord in so many ways through their marriage. They served others gladly and became well known in their community. People called on them when they needed help. They raised a family who went on to raise families. And now those families are raising families of their own.
I only had the privelege of knowing Grandpa for the last ten years. I am most thankful for the godly influence he had on my husband. They were very close, as he was with the rest of his grandchildren, as well. I know my husband learned so much from Grandpa and looked up to him his whole life. What a legacy!
I too enjoyed the many times I had with Grandpa and the discussions we had over the years. Usually our visits mostly included sitting around and talking. Often those talks would be about something in the Bible or about something we wondered about. He often talked about the times and current events. He was real and rarely held back telling us how he really felt. I liked that - even the rare times that I thought differently than him.
And Grandma. What a wonderful woman. She faithfully took care of him and encouraged him. Although I am sure she is grieving, she knows she will see Grandpa again when it's her turn to enter into Heaven.
It's so amazing to think about what he is doing right now. He is enjoying what had been promised to him and worshiping the LORD like never before. He's been reunited with those who have gone before him and waits for the rest of us to get there. What joy he is experiencing! No more pain. No more tears. Face to face with Jesus.
And we are left here with many memories and the assurance that those who follow Jesus will be reunited one day. Praise the LORD!
He will be missed by us although we are thankful and rejoice for him that he is now with his Lord.
Please pray for the family and for Grandma who is now without her partner in life.
To God be the glory!