I last saw my grandpa almost two years ago. I would be leaving for Germany soon, and I really wanted to see him before I left. He’d had a stroke not long before, and God had done something inside his heart that made him turn to Him and follow Him. Even though he could no longer walk.
I needed to see him before I went. Because I wanted to tell him how I’d prayed for all those years. Prayed he would know Jesus. Prayed he would know His undeserved grace that looks beyond all the crap and sees the adoration of His love — even Grandpa. Even me.
But my grandpa was two flights and about two thousand miles away. It wasn’t in the budget to buy me a plane ticket before moving across the world.
So I prayed.
Two days later, God gave me an editing job in the form of a friend’s book that would pay for a flight to California. A trip to see my grandpa in person.
A gift from God.
My grandpa passed away two days ago. Somehow I’d thought he might live forever in that bed. Even though I knew he wouldn’t.
I haven’t seen him in almost two years, but I already miss him terribly. He was an amazing man full of strength and courage. He taught me so much about being confident and knowing what I want and knowing what’s important and loving life. He held my hand while I cried at the side of my cousin’s grave six years ago. That big, tall man held my hand and hugged me and told me he loved me. And I will never forget him.
I wrote what follows that week I was there with him two years ago. I wrote it as a sort of praise offering to God. To thank Him for the heart-change I got to see in my grandpa that week. To praise Him for the gift of that time with him before I moved across the world with my family.
Today, I offer it again. In honor of my grandpa. In honor of my gratitude to God because I know where Grandpa is right now.
I sit in awe as he ponders life from the bed he lays in. A stroke put him here, and it’s not been easy. Unyielding, in fact.
For the breaking of a man is never painless. And the breaking of this man, especially.
I prayed for him as a schoolgirl who wanted to know she would see her grandpa in heaven someday. The prayers never stopped. Thirty some years I prayed for his spirit, for his faith in Jesus Christ. Many of those years I wondered, not knowing, only hoping.
But praying just the same.
I sit with him now and marvel at his spirit. The faith that God has sparked in him. The depth of genuine sincerity with which he now expresses his care about the deep things of life and the searching of the soul.
I love this man so dearly.
And I catch myself surprised at God’s very real answer to my thirty-year prayer.
Thank you, God!
That Almighty Maker of Men and Healer of Broken would hear my cries and finally answer simply stuns me. I am honored to know this God. I am honored to know this man. And now they know each other.
A simple answer to the simple but long-lasting prayer of my heart inspires a certain praise in my soul that will quite literally last much longer than the 30-years from which it came.
From the depths of my being, my soul cries out astounded gratitude. But the only three words I can get my mouth to form are quite simply
Thank You, God!