Corinthians 15:55, “Oh, death, where is your victory? Oh, death, where is your sting?”
Three weeks ago, my grandpa–the strongest and godliest man I know–joined baby David (referred to here) in Heaven. It was too soon for both of them. Today, I am celebrating the anniversary of David’s passing, and remembering my grandpa’s as well. I have a hunch that they’ve connected in Heaven and that they are worshipping at the throne of the Lamb who saved them. Can’t wait to join them.
Come, Lord Jesus, come.
My sister and I shared some reflections at the funeral. I’m posting what we said below. Rebecca’s part is in indented.
Our earliest memories with our grandpa are sweaty faces and laughing ‘til tears. We spent sweltering summers on the farm alternating between playing in the Dollhouse, a life-size house perfect for five granddaughters, the creek, a cool place to escape the heat, and the hay bails, whose purpose was unbeknownst to us, as we figured they were just for jumping. As we entered the house,Grandpa, or sometimes known as Pickle, would grab our feet write “Sugar Foot” and “Dolly” with the pen from his overalls pocket as we died of the giggles. Other times he would grab our arms and squeeze his hand tighter and tighter as the other arm pretended to crank it up until we couldn’t take it anymore. As we got older, we attempted to learn to play checkers with him. We still don’t know how a single man can win so many games. As the years passed by, checkers turned into dominoes and playing in the Dollhouse turned into long drives in the golf cart or truck. Now, more than anything, we wish we could go on one of those rides.
The creek has a wealth of memories attached to it. This creek was fed by an underwater spring that Grandpa named ‘Gordy Falls’. It has flowed and bubbled, watered and fed the farm for as long as we can remember. Last August I went to the farm with my mom to visit. My grandpa took me driving to the creek to show me a sight we never thought we’d see. With tears in his eyes he told me that the drought had dried up Gordy Falls. His mourning and sadness was followed up with his reflection on God’s faithfulness. Mygrandpa’s prayers may have echoed that Psalmists in Psalm 74: Yet God my King is from of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth. You divided the sea by your might; You split open springs and brooks; you dried up ever-flowing streams. Yours is the day, yours also the night; you have established the heavenly lights and the sun.
When we think of our grandpa, we think of the hardest working man we know. His stories of growing-up years in Nebraska, his move to Denver, and his life on the farm are characterized by years of hard manual labor and dedication to his farm. Equally, our grandpaworked hard with his family. He provided for his wife and my mom and uncle, giving them opportunities to study and see the world that he and Grammie only dreamed of. He worked hard to give generously to his five granddaughters, showering them with prayer and wisdom. In his last days, he worked hard to take care of his wife, loving her patiently and compassionately.
A couple years ago I called my grandpa to hear how he and grammie were doing. On the phone he sounded strangely excited! He told me that he and grammie were about to celebrate their 50th (?) anniversary. He had planned to take her to the Mission Aviation Fellowship base nearby to take her up in an airplane for a view of this beautiful country landscape we are so blessed to see today. Grammie treasured this flight and they enjoyed their special time together. Grandpa may not be remembered as a romantic, but his tender hearted love for his soul mate, Emma Mae, was reflected throughout their 58 year marriage. Last week my grandpa told my mom that he and Grammie are one flesh as he expressed his love and devotion to care for her even in their later years. Genesis 2 says: Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
Our grandpa was the best grandpa we could ever ask for, but we know that many of the things he worked hard for did not come naturally to him. Our grandpa’s life, hard work, and dedication teach us this: there is no limit to what God can do in your life if you give yourself fully to him. My grandpa dedicated his farming, his faith, and his family to the Lord, and God grew him into a perseverant farmer, a loving husband, a wise father, and a generous grandfather. God’s work in Grandpa’s life is evident, and we are honored to be the granddaughters of a man who fully committed himself to God’s work in his life and in his community.
My Grandpa believed in God’s love for him. He told me a story over and over again that illustrated that belief. As Grandpa drove me around the farm in his truck he would stop at the top of the hill and say, ‘i know some people think i’m foolish for saying this, but i believe with my whole heart that when God created the earth he stopped and put his thumb print on this farm and said: this is for my Gordy.’ My grandpa knew better than anyone I know what it means to be a cherished child of God. In reflecting on my Grandpa’s life, there are lots of things for us to emulate and celebrate. But the most important thing he taught me is to receive God’s love.
We are grateful for Grandpa’s prayers, for listening to our requests and giving them to the Lord. We are grateful for Grandpa’s support of the way that God is leading our lives. We are grateful forGrandpa’s model to us of a man who dedicates his life completely to the Lord. We hope and pray that God will grow us into the women that he wants us to be. We wish that Grandpa were here to see where God takes us, but we know that he is proudly loving us from heaven, enjoying cattle on a thousand hills!
There is a beautiful song that has been encouraging to my family throughout these days. Here are some lyrics:
some voices spoke out behind me
the voice was like
the roar of the water
it was the voice i have followed for all my life
i turned to see my Lord
he stood before me in glory
his robes were white
his eyes were like fire
his face shone out like the sunshine
in all its might
and he spoke with power,
“I am he, who is alive,
and behold i died to save the ones i love
to raise them all to life,
now you are mine, and i am yours
come stand with me at last!”
(we come to Jesus, trinity grace church)