I didn’t spend a lot of time with my Grandpa – he was a missionary in West Africa and I saw him a handful of times in my house through my growing up years and saw him over in his beloved country three times. But those few interactions were enough to know the man – he lived and spoke with consistency that which he believed.
In the quiet of their home it was God who ordered and directed their days and it shone through in the way they interacted with others, in the way they calmly accepted whatever challenges came their way – they knew God was in control and they lived faithfully. As a teenager I lived with my grandparents for a year and every.single.morning I saw them rise and sit together, reading God’s word and praying for their family, their work, and other missionaries around the world.
Grandpa was in the Coast Guard in WWII. He told me once that while he was on his ship there were no other believers and he struggled with his salvation since he did not know the exact date he had been saved. He said; “It was days of this and I finally went to the Lord about it saying I needed something to silence the enemy. I was struck with the thought that I only knew my physical birthday because my parents were there for it and told me it over and over. I was the only person there to know my spiritual birthday and it was ok to forget the date.”
He also told me that while the ship was heading towards Iwo Jima the Captain of the ship sent the First Mate to ask Grandpa to hold a service. He had never preached before in his life, but he agreed and preached for those on the ship. He told me he didn’t remember what he preached but that he still remembered the eyes of a Marine who never took his eyes off grandpa the entire time he preached. Grandpa finished by telling me he was sure he would see that man in glory.
I have an email my Grandpa sent me a couple years ago, it is one of the very few he ever wrote to me and is a wonderful testimony of his desire for his life;
“It would be great to see you all again. But I guess the next time will be in glory, as I have already out lived the age of my Dad, Mother and brothers.
But the Lord knows why I am still here. I pray that I might be fulfilling that purpose.”
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus Christ, my righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
I am thankful that we know with assurance that Grandpa is spending eternity with God. His life is an encouragement and challenge, and I am so thankful he was my grandpa and that I knew him as I did.