Tuesday, April 20, 2010

One Face of Heaven Breaking Into Earth

Grandpa. There are a few things you should know about this man.

He's 100 years old (101 this August). I'm not even a quarter of that! Needless to say, he's led a full life.
My grams passed almost 10 years ago, and I never thought gramps would hit the 100-mark. For each day he's given, for every other day he is on this earth, this man is doing some serious damage for the Kingdom. My grandparents were probably the first prayer warriors I've ever been exposed to. I remember there would be times when I'd want to sleep in my grandparents bedroom--I'd grab a sleeping bag, put it between their two twin beds (why do some old people do that?), and just lay there listening to them pray together as they sat facing each other until one fell asleep. To say that they were in the zone would be an understatement. It was their job, their joy, and their honor to come before our God in that way. As I lay zipped up in my sleeping bag, and their prayers literally were spoken over me, I never experienced anything but deep, deep peace.

He's an amazing story teller. I wish that I could have heard more while I was growing up. He's a man of conviction. He's a man who loves deeply. He's a man who sees with his heart. He's gentle. He's strong. He was an anointed speaker, a passionate pastor, and still is and will continue to be a true worshiper well after the day He meets our Jesus face to face. 

He gives the best sniff-kisses and grandpa hugs. Because his eyesight isn't the best, he writes the cutest little notes with his grandpa writing--it's hard to read sometimes, but you know that it's just him telling us he loves us.  He delights in his children and his grandchildren. He is proud of us. He's not afraid to cry in front of us. I'm a firm believer that he's a big fan of the happy tears :). Apparently, I come from a strong line of a lot of those, haha.

As he lay in his hospital bed with my uncle on one side and my mom on the other, he raised his arms toward the heavens, eyes closed, with an ear-to-ear smile on his face. My mom asked him what it was that he was seeing, and he cried out, "Hallelujah!! Hallelujah!! I see the face of my God. I see the angels and his children bowing before him worshiping. Hallelujah!!" Talk about getting one of the best gifts ever: a vision of Heaven, a glimpse of the face of his Maker, a taste of what's to come.

I know that Grandpa is ready to go Home. I know that His appetite for eternity has been whetted, and he remains on this earth knowing that God's timing is sovereign. I honestly believe he's still here for our sake. We're not done with him yet, and he loves us enough to stick around for a little bit longer :). I know that when he does go to hang out with Jesus for forever and ever, that my heart will be in a place of genuine grieving and joyous celebration. Words cannot express how blessed I am to know how rich of a heritage I have. 

My family--the men and women who have come before me have made me think about this verse in a different way:

Before a word is on my tongue
       you know it completely, O LORD.
You hem me in—behind and before;
       you have laid your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
       too lofty for me to attain.

In many ways, I have seem this hemming behind and before through the people God has placed in my life. They started down the narrow road knowing that Eternity awaits--being fully present along the way. 

Jesus, you are far too good to us. Thank you for Grandpa. Thank you for his story of redemption and surrender. Thank you for inclining his heart towards Yours. You already know this, but he can't wait to see You. 

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