I can only imagine what it would be like to be sitting, reading your Bible, seeing dimly as in a mirror (I Corinthians 13) and then you blink . . . and you are not just spending time with God, but you are actually with God, surrounded by His glory, seeing face to face, knowing fully just as you are fully known (again, I Corinthians 13). This is what happened to my Grandpa B. last Sunday morning. And while we grieve his death with broken hearts, we rejoice that he is free of his weakening body and his confused mind and that he is home with his Savior. I wonder what he was reading when he died (so far, I only know he was reading his Bible), and what that must have been like to be reading along, perhaps wondering at the full meaning of something he was reading, and then all of a sudden experiencing the fulfillment of God’s gospel promises to us.
My Grandpa is one of my heroes. He grew up as a milkman’s son in Iowa, going with his father on morning deliveries, and seeing his father’s generosity during the Depression, when he made sure the families with children got their milk even if their bill was unpaid. (When I heard about that a few years ago, it explained so much to me about my Grandpa’s character.) He served in the Navy during WWII and loved to tell stories about his time on the USS Boise. He was a Presbyterian minister who preached until retirement age, tried to retire, but just couldn’t stay away. As he told me once, he couldn’t just sit around when he could be telling someone about God’s love for them. There is no way to count the number of people who were touched by his ministry.
And most importantly, he was the best grandpa a kid could ask for. When he saw us, he’d raise his fists and say, “Yippee!” and we would know we were the most important people in the world. He played silly games with us, like pretending he couldn’t see us and saying, “Where’s Marissa? Has anyone seen Marissa?” while we jumped up and down in front of his face, laughing hysterically. Even when his mind had been taken by Alzheimer’s and he didn’t know who I was, I loved watching him play the same “falling asleep” game with my kids that he used to play with me. And I don’t know if they have food and drink in Heaven, but I can’t help wondering if it was my cousin, or maybe one of Grandpa’s parents, who took his hand on Sunday and said, “Come on, Grandpa, the coffee’s this way.” Because anyone who knew Grandpa knows of his love for three things: God, family and McDonald’s coffee. He never went anywhere with out his old, faded, plastic McDonald’s coffee cup. Did you forget your coffee cup? Don’t worry, Grandpa always had an extra, just for you.
When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
I Corinthians 15:54-57Share