Last year I lost the greatest man I have ever known—my grandfather. Married to my grandmother for more than 50 years, they became my legal guardians when I was four years old and raised me until I left for college.
My grandfather was extremely intentional in what he wanted me to know. While at the hospital, my high school basketball coach noted that he had a second chance with me, so he already knew what I needed to know and how he would accomplish giving me that knowledge.
My grandfather was a man of great faith. He was loved in the community and though he grew up during segregation, he always spoke about and showed love for all people—no matter who they were. 1 Corinthians 13 was his go-to and I can hear his voice reading, “…if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.”
His faith in JESUS was a major part of his life. His faith in JESUS was put to the test when he was diagnosed with cancer and he was told that he could be gone from this world in three months. Three months later he was taken to the hospital. I heard nothing but good reports and it seemed that he would leave there—he never did.
His faith was put to a death test. While staring death in the face, what he said he believed about JESUS, would it stand? I was told that he said, “I do not want to die, but if I do, I know I will be alright.” Faith in JESUS requires a final exam. That final exam is death.
The Apostle Paul said, “If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.” Faith in JESUS speaks to this life and the life to come. Your theology must deal with death because the scriptures say it is appointed for man to die once—it is what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. dubbed “life’s great common denominator.” When death comes and stares you in the face, will you blink?
My grandfather did not, because his LORD did not—from Gethsemane to Golgotha. I pray when my time here on earth is done, and death stares me in the face, I can follow in the way of my grandfather and my LORD, and not blink.
Grace and peace.1