Yesterday Jesus Won

One of the greatest men I've ever had the pleasure of loving

One of the greatest men I’ve ever had the pleasure of loving

Yesterday my grandpa’s battle with brain cancer came to an end. Grandpa didn’t lose and cancer didn’t win. Yesterday Jesus won.

Yesterday morning, Jesus sent an army of angels and took Grandpa home to be with Him.

Grandpa was one of the two most influential men in my life. And the only thing he loved more than Grandma and the rest of his family was his God, the Lord and Savior of his life. Yesterday, Grandpa got to see Him. And it is good.

We are grieving. We do cry. But even Jesus wept at the death of Lazarus. (John 11:35) Even knowing that one day Lazarus would be with Him eternally, and knowing that He would raise Lazarus from the dead, Jesus wept. Jesus mourned. And in the same way we are mourning and hurting.

There is no doubt in anyone mind where my grandpa is spending eternity. And there will be no pain, no tears, no cancer. It is so good.

Right after I got the phone call yesterday morning, God put a verse on my heart. Psalms 118:24 “Today is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.” It gave me such peace. Yes, I still hurt and yes I still cried. But it was the day the Lord had made and we did rejoice and be glad in it.

I think about the time God gave us. He gave us so much time that some people don’t get. We all got those last memories and times to say good-bye, to tell Grandpa that we loved him. And some of them weren’t the memories we were wanting to make this summer, but they were good in their own right.

Monday was the last time I saw him. And we got to make some great memories. Although Grandpa could only sit in his chair out on the patio, he watched as Cameron completed the last project on Grandpa’s list of things that needed to be done. And when we were ready to leave, he told us that he loved us and then asked the boys to tell their dad he said hello. Even at the end, he remembered us all and loved us.

There are going to be many tears and moments of great sadness. But even in those times, we know this is good. Because today, the cancer is defeated. Grandpa’s mind is sharp, and he is spending today with Jesus. And it is good.

Last Sunday at church, the message was about David, having a heart of a champion and about leaving behind a legacy of honoring God. Let me tell you, Grandpa had a heart of a champion and what a legacy he leaves behind. It’s a legacy of loving Jesus with all his heart, of loving his wife and his family, of hard work and compassion, of selflessness and generosity. And over the next few days as we get ready to put Grandpa’s body to rest and tell stories of his life, we will remember that legacy he leaves behind.

His favorite verse was Micah 6:8 “And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” That was how Grandpa lived his life and how those of us left behind will honor his memory.

For those of you who know me personally, there will not be a viewing or funeral. Grandpa requested a private, family only graveside service. Thank you for understanding that we will be respecting his wish.

Angels Among Us

The version of Angels We Have Heard On High in the video above is amazing. It’s The Piano Guys with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. The video also includes clips from the world record breaking live nativity with over 1000 angels. It is worth watching.

Angels are so important to the Christmas story. They bring the news to Mary, to Joseph, and to the shepards. Each time it starts out the same. The angels tell them to not be afraid.

Imagine Mary standing there in her home and suddenly there is a man standing behind her. Imagine Joseph, his world collapsing around him as he learns his love is pregnant and he’s not the father. Imagine those shepards, watching over their flocks, settled down for the night and suddenly someone appears shining in the night’s sky.

Do not be afraid was probably the right way to begin. When I think about any of those situations, I know I definitely would have been afraid. In fact, afraid probably isn’t a strong enough word to describe how I would have felt.

These angels knew what to say. They were sent by God to give the best news. They knew there was no reason to to afraid. “You’re going to have a baby, and not just any baby but the Son of God.” “Marry your bride. Together you are going to raise the Savior.” “The Son of God has been born, and you get to be there!”

There was no need to be afraid. These angels were bring the best news ever. They brought cause for celebration. The Son of God was coming to earth!

“Then the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.’

“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill towards men!'” – Luke 2:10-14

In the song, it says that the mountains echoed the sound of the angels singing the praises of Jesus’s birth. I’m not sure it was just an echo. I can imagine it being such a joyous occasion that even the cries of the mountains could not be contained.

And those shepherds, dirty and tired from tending their sheep, from chasing down the ones that wondered off. They were sitting around thinking it was just another night when suddenly their whole world changed.

I’m not sure what angels look like. When I think of Gabriel appearing to Mary, I imagine him to look like a man you could pass on the street without a second thought. When I think of the shepherds, I picture the classic angel look, the white gowns and wings and light. I’m not sure what they look like, but I know God is still sending them to earth.

I saw one once

It was night, and I was driving a friend home. This involved a lot of county roads with woods and fields, also known as a deer’s best friend. We were just getting off of the main highway which was well lighted. Just as the street lights were coming to an end, I saw something move. It was dark and person shaped but more like a shadow of movement than an actual person.

It bothered me and stuck with me. My friend didn’t see it, I was sure. I didn’t say anything about it, but I kept thinking about what I had seen.

We kept driving and a couple minutes later turned onto a dark county road. Whatever I had seen was really bothering me so I asked my friend if they had seen it. Nope, he had no idea what I was talking about. So I started telling him about it, where it was and what it looked like.

We were driving up a hill, and what I didn’t realize at the time was, while I was telling my story, I had taken my foot off the gas petal. We had drastically slowed down. And as I finished my story we started down the hill. At the bottom of the hill, standing in the middle of the road was the biggest deer I have ever seen.

Had I not seen the figure by the side of the road, had I talked about it right away, had I not taken my foot off the gas, I would not have gotten stopped in time. I have no idea how my little car, my passenger and I would have faired had I hit that deer, but I know it wouldn’t have been good.

And no one will ever convince me that it was anything but someone sent by God that I saw by the road that night. Do not be afraid for God is with you.

Angels among us 

We’ve gone through hard times just like everyone else. Our hardest time felt never ending (although it did end just like everything does). We had to rely on our families a lot. We struggled individually and as a family.

During this hard time, I opened the front door of the house to let more light in through the screen door. I found a shocking surprise. Sitting on our front porch were boxes of food. I stepped out and looked around expecting to see someone.

There was no one there. There was no note included with the food. I have no idea how someone could have gotten those boxes to my front door without any of us seeing anything, especially considering the giant picture window in our living room.

I still don’t know how the food got there, and honestly, it doesn’t matter. Whether it was delivered by someone from earth or not, I believe it was sent by God. Do not be afraid for you are not alone.

I also believe we have angels working with us right on this site. Over on the post Hope For the Holidays, strangers are helping strangers. And maybe all of the givers live on earth or maybe they don’t. Either way, I believe every commenter over there found themselves there through God. Do not be afraid for you are not alone.

This Christmas season watch for the angels. Do not be afraid. They are bringing good tidings of great joy.