In Loving Memory

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Loss is a hard thing. Especially the loss of someone loved dearly. There is an emptiness that fills the air and lingers on your heart and the hearts of others for a while. The whirlwind of family coming into town, planning, and attending the service, puts a barrier between you and the weight of sadness for just a little while. Having family around is bolstering and brings in a wave of precious memories. 

Everything sinks in when all of the activity settles down.

John, well, Grandpa John, has a special place in my heart. Though he was not my biological grandfather, he held as much respect, and he treated all of us grandkids as his very own flesh and blood. We all have special memories with him. One of my favorites is from Christmastime. Grandpa John always wrapped the presents in brown paper and tied them with a bow of twine. We loved that and looked forward to it every year. John had a "secret" stash of candy by his lazyboy, that we all snagged some sweet goodness from on the sly. I'm pretty sure he knew all about this and never said a word. Maybe that was a sweet to him as our presents wrapped in brown paper. 

Grandpa John's death did not take us all by surprise. He had been ill for some time. When he truly was gone though, it hurt in a deep place. At the same time, we were and are able to take a measure of comfort and joy. My Grandpa John was a born again follower of Christ, and because of that truth, we all take heart in knowing that we will see him again. Though his body is resting, his spirit is not. 

"But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself." Philippians 3:20-21.

Jesus died. This is commonplace to most people, it's a familiar fact. And I think it can seem almost hollow to some. We grow accustomed to thinking that meaning comes from newness, but old truths are still true, and therefore are still incredibly meaningful. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ means the death of death itself. Jesus Christ conquered death and this means victory over death for those who trust in Christ as their Lord and Savior. John did that. What joy we have, as those who loved him dearly, to know that John is in the presence of his Savior. John is no longer in pain or discomfort, but he rejoices in the presence and holiness of God. This covers our grief with hope and encouragement. This is what we look forward to!

"..But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel." 2 Timothy 1:8-10

John loved his family with all of his heart, and he was most tenderly loved right back. The whole family was together about this time last year. We laughed, we threw the pigskin around, we joked with one another. I remember well how happy John looked. He had a sweet content smile on his face watching his family. That is one of my last memories of Grandpa John when he was still doing well. I cherish that always. 

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