Those who have had a profound influence on our personal spiritual journeys probably won’t know the impact that knowing them has had on our eternal lives until they get to heaven. Our walk here on earth is just a shadow of the glory that is to come, and I am sure that is an understatement. We are family and were created to develop meaningful and authentic relationships in the body of Christ…. Relationships that will make a difference not only in our own lives, but also for us to make a difference in each and every life we touch. As you read in the first few chapters of this book, my Grandpa was one of those people that God used to set my journey in motion toward God. He was the first man I ever totally trusted. He loved Jesus. He loved me. This is the story of how God connected my new husband and my Grandpa in the celebration of Grandpa’s entry into glory.
Greg had met Grandpa a few years before he died at the age of 96. When I introduced them for the first time I knew their relationship would prove to be most unique. There seemed to be an instant bond between the two of them. And even though they were almost 50 years apart in age, in their spirits it was quite apparent they were the same age. Though Grandpa was growing feeble and couldn’t move around much and he was blind from cataracts, his countenance would light up each time I brought Greg to visit him.
Soon after we visited the rest home that day to say our good byes to Grandpa we found out that he had requested Greg to do his graveside service. As I sat on the sidelines under the canopy watching Greg perform the service for my beloved grandfather I couldn’t help but notice the similarities between the both of them though they were from two different generations. Like Grandpa, Greg had also pastored an old time religion church in a small community for many years but instead of an oil town in the desert like grandpa it was on the beach in California. He talked often of his times with God and the many things God had done in his small church. Greg’s location brought in travelers and beach people. Greg and Grandpa would talk for hours about their experiences with God and His people. It was as if they had always been together, like they had known each other a very long time, even though they had really only known each other a for a couple of years.
The similarities in their personalities were astounding. Grandpa was known for his good looks and charismatic personality in his day. And in his early days, before he found God, he was known as quite the womanizer. Greg was also known for his good looks and charismatic personality. And, before he found God, was an outlaw biker who had built his own Harley from the ground up.
He always had a “chick” on the back of his “chopper” and was known as “The Greek”.
Grandpa and Greg were both from rough-hewn backgrounds and had very similar lifestyles before they both experienced profound conversions with God. Greg had an uncanny way of getting Grandpa to talking about all that he had encountered in running a little country church those many years ago. He would share and talk and laugh over the many experiences he’d had as a preacher. Greg would hang on every word and delight himself in the wisdom of an old man. He knew he had found a gold mine in this wise old man and was only distressed he had not known him longer.
Greg only knew Grandpa a few short years before he died. But in that short time they had become so close it was as if they had always been together, preaching and sharing. Greg did not take lightly the request to perform his new friend’s graveside service and was very honored at the depth of value Grandpa had for him to make such a request.
Greg shared from Grandpa’s favorite stories and scriptures and assured the crowd that they would one day see Grandpa again, if they would only believe. Though, not a known soloist, Greg then began singing, without accompaniment, some of those old time religion songs that I had heard Grandpa sing and do a country jig to in their little church. As Greg bellowed out “I’ll Fly Away, Oh Glory,” everyone there was amazed because it reminded them of Grandpa from years ago. They were astonished that a man who was so much younger than Grandpa and had only known him such a short time could have conducted Grandpa’s own last rites exactly the way Grandpa himself would have conducted them. I secretly knew Grandpa was dancing a jig and singing as he watched from the gates of heaven, probably with ol’ Lizzie and Grandma joining in on Heaven’s version of the honky-tonk piano.
Next Chapter: Fulfillment in Simplicity