(Today I have a guest writer on my blog. My wonderful husband wrote this reflection about my Dad)
Perhaps we will always strive to understand God’s purpose of events. On July 24th, Keith, Dad, Grandpa, husband, and friend, in passionate pursuit of activities he loved slipped from this life into the next, to meet his Savior, Jesus Christ. I would love to call the events leading to his exit from this life an “accident” or a “tragedy” and many people, in attempts to cope with this loss, have used these words in their reach for a deeper understanding of how he could have passed so quickly. In his prime of life, having just retired from farming last year and preparing for anything God would have for him and Sue. However, God’s plan was to bring him home.
Within the family we are grieving, but in a way we are joyous, we are joyous for the things of God, we are thankful that these events have drawn all of us closer together. We are thankful that in a God ordained way, Keith had been in the process of putting the finishing touches on many things in his life, his children are grown and have settled their relationship with Jesus, the land is rented, the detritus of the past was auctioned, and the farm is cleaned up. Most importantly, we are thankful for the great number of people who have poured out their support for the family, in words, food, shoulders to cry on, and prayer. We are a blessed family.
Our daughters, Lillian and Norah, were there in the moments after the event. They experienced the immediate sorrow and loss that descended around them. Lillian, the eldest at nearly four years old, has shown a far deeper faith and wisdom than us. The hardest conversation you will ever have with your child is when they ask “Why are all the mommies crying?” Telling her that Grandpa is gone, and that he’s gone to heaven was hard, it’s not something I wanted to say to someone so young. She understood immediately, she knew and accepted it more readily than I. She’s not yet asked where Grandpa is, in fact much the opposite way she has told us more about where he is now. She knows that grandpa left his old body behind for a new body in heaven, and she’s even pondered if he’s wearing a swimming suit in heaven.
On the morning of the funeral we were in bed discussing what was going to happen that day and out of the blue she states “oh yeah, grandpa took the eagle ride up to heaven” after we quelled our emotions for a few moments we asked her who told her that. In a matter of fact way she said “Jesus did.” Don’t we all wish that we could have faith and knowledge that simple? While Marisa was looking through some of the photos of our time together Lillian saw one of Grandpa and said “Oh, there’s grandpa, too bad he moved up to heaven.” Often we work hard to shield our children from pain and suffering, we don’t want them to experience the hardest things in life, but perhaps our children are better able to understand the deeper workings of God and cope with it better than we are. There will be the days when we long to see Keith’s smile or hear his hearty laugh or see that glint in his eye when he’s sharing a joke. There will be days that we long to share with him again, the days of great happiness and his comfort in our days of sadness. In the end, we know that God had his purposes in this time.
As a family, we’ve held steadfast to the greater purposes of God, so far we’ve seen God use these events in miraculous ways. Keith’s funeral was a gathering call to the hundreds of people who knew him, a reflection of Jesus, and the strength of family. The shock has a done a great amount in prompting people to deal with their own heart and soul. We’ve had numerous encounters with people who have approached family members about their need to fix their lives. We’ve also seen God orchestrate unbelievable connections and provide opportunities for healing and ministry unlike we’ve seen or experienced before. God always has a greater purpose.
These experiences in life are what grow our faith and provide for us a deeper understanding of the nature of God. We are not able to rewrite the moments surrounding Keith’s exit from this life, it was God’s time and his plan. We can only accept what has happened and move forward into a deeper understanding of His nature. He uses all things for His good, even our deepest sorrows. We rejoice in the redemptive power of Jesus Christ, because without him in our lives, we are lost.