When I think about growing old, I wonder what life will look like. The culture will most likely be vastly different than it is now. Maybe everyone will drive flying cars. And maybe I could get to London in an hour, who knows? I wonder what my children will be like and what will make their hearts come alive. I pray they do those things often even in the midst of their busy, middle-aged lives. I wonder if I will be blessed with grandchildren, or even great-grandchildren during my lifetime, and I wonder if I will be able to sit them on my lap and tell them stories about when I was a child. I wonder what their dreams and desires will be. I wonder if they will love Jesus. I believe they will. He’s far too good not to love, once you get to know Him.
I also wonder what it will feel like to grow old. I’ve never feared growing older, but I guess that might change as the years keep passing. I know my body is subject to decay, which is truly unfortunate. I like being able to run, swim, and hike mountains, but I know this won’t last as time continues to rapidly move forward. I know that life will have many challenges for me to overcome. I try not to wonder what they might be. But things will happen and I won’t know how to deal with them. I will be heartbroken. I will be devastated. Jesus told us that in this world we will have trouble. And aside from the Truth that Jesus has overcome the world, I think the reason I don’t fear growing older is because of my grandparents. Few people today are blessed to have been able to grow up near all four biological grandparents. I’ve been doubly blessed that all four remained joyfully married and each one has invested in the lives of their grandchildren.
My grandparents have modeled to me what faithfulness looks like, and faithfulness in old age is inspiring and deeply beautiful.
I heard in a sermon recently that faithfulness isn’t measured by our perfection but by our willingness to get back up and keep going. Life hasn’t been easy for them, but when life knocked them down, my grandparents chose to get back up.
Two of my grandparents are now with Jesus. They ran their race and get to enjoy all those good youthful activities again, this time without fear of pain, tears, or even getting tired. My other two grandparents, Dorothy and Clifford, are still here with us. I know they will rejoice when they get to heaven, see Jesus, and receive their new bodies, but selfishly, I’m thankful they are still here.
But when the day comes that they get to meet Jesus face to face, I know He will say, “well done, good and faithful servants.”
Grandma is good. She the most joyful person I have ever met. She overflows with goodness and kindness. Even though she has been through some tough stuff in this life, I think she would tell you that Jesus has been with her through every trial, seeing her through to the other side. You know how people start looking like their significant other after spending so much time with them? Well, Grandma has walked closely with Jesus for so long that she looks just like Him.
Grandad is faithful. I don’t know many details, but there was a time in Grandad’s life that he was maliciously hurt by the church he pastored. I know that this wound kept him knocked down for a while, but because of the faithfulness of his Father in heaven, he chose to get back up and keep walking with Him. Grandad chose to receive his inheritance as a son of God. And because of that, he walks in the authority of His Father.
Grandma is faithful. She has chosen to walk this life in confidence because she knows to whom she belongs. Grandma is the kind of person who is so assured of the love of God that she is able to sleep through the storms. Even through years of pain, she has remained faithful. She has chosen over and over again to forgive and to love. It honestly baffles me how unselfish she is. She is a living, breathing example of the humility of Jesus. And because she is humble, she hasn’t gotten stuck in the prideful mentality of wanting life to go her way. In her humility, she has remained faithful and kept walking in the way she should go, even when it got tough.
Grandad is good. Grandad is the kind of person who will give you the shirt off his back. He is the kind of person who will give away all his money to the poor because he loves them so much. He is the kind of person who will fight with all his might for the rights of the needy and ostracized. He is one of the most passionate people I have ever met. He is a fierce defender of hurting people. Grandad is good because when he was formed in his mother’s womb, God decided to put a little of His own goodness inside of him because He knew he would need it. He also put mercy in his heart. And when Grandad had to decide who he would be, even after a tremendously painful childhood, he found that mercy and goodness in his heart and used it for the glory of God.
Grandma and Grandad, thank you for how you have lived your lives. I’ve only known you for less than a third of your lives here on earth, but in that time you have both demonstrated immense love to your family, friends, and the world in tangible, meaningful ways. Some of my fondest memories of you together were when you took us kids to the food pantry to help serve those in need. What I remember most about those times was how accepting and loving you were to every single person that came in to receive food. You shared joy, and gave hope, and poured out affection on perfect strangers. You treated them like they were Jesus Himself. And that is the greatest legacy you could have ever given me.
In conclusion, I leave you with the words of Jesus:
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.” Matthew 25:34-35