Grandpa died on Thursday.
He was a good man who loved his family and loved his Lord.
My earliest memories of Grandpa are from his farm. He gave my brother and I the important–and very fun–job of keeping the blackbirds out of the blackberries. He gave us bottle-rockets and an old aluminum baseball bat to accomplish this task. We’d light the bottle-rockets, drop them into the hollowed out baseball bat, aim it at the berry patch, and cheer as the bottle-rocket popped and the birds scattered.
He loved to fish and he was good at it. Large-mouth Bass had my grandpa’s picture on the walls of their post offices with the word, “Wanted” written below his image. He always seemed to know exactly where the fish were and always worked to make sure that my brother and caught something on even the most fish-less days.
He was a hard-worker who provided for his family even under difficult situations.
He’d experienced a lot of pain in his life. He lost a son and I lost a Dad on August 8, 1988 and neither one of us fully recovered from Dad’s unexpected death. We found a way to move on, but–even though we both know God, so we both know that Dad is with the Lord–we moved on in pain.
Death is an abusive drifter who appears unexpectedly, ravages savagely, and disappears quietly into the darkness to hurt someone else in the next town.
Like an F-4 tornado, death seems to drop from out of nowhere, moving quickly and randomly through homes, schools, churches, communities, and unsuspecting souls leaving in its path a trail of broken hearts, sleepless nights, tear-stained pillows, empty seats at dinner tables, fatherless children, and widowed spouses.
I know God exists.
I know God loves me.
I know that Jesus is God’s Son.
I know that Jesus died so that I could live forever through obedient faith in him.
I know that heaven is as real as Chicago.
I know that my Dad is with the Lord.
I know that my Grandpa is walking with the Lord, too, and no longer in pain, or maimed, or seeing Paradise through clouded glass.
I know all of this, but I also know that funerals were never a part of God’s plan.
He didn’t design our hearts, bodies, and souls to deal with death.
God created us for life.
So, in the next few days as I confront the realities–and results–of death, I am going to also confront the realities of life and–in honor of my Father, my Grand-Father, and my Heavenly Father–I’m going to re-commit to living the life for which we all were created.