Thursday, March 19, 2009

Grandma's in Heaven

This week I am in Florida where today I will be preaching the memorial service for my Grandma Williams who passed away last Wednesday. She was my last surviving grandparent. I have already preached my Grandpa William’s funeral in Florida as well as my Grandpa and Grandma Distler’s funerals in Illinois. I also had the privilege of preaching several of my wife’s grandparent’s funerals out in Colorado.

Growing up, my Grandpa and Grandma Williams lived in Endicott, New York, near Binghamton. That is where both my parents and my sister were all born. I’m the only Ohio native in my family being born in Akron after my parents moved there from New York. Grandpa and Grandma did not share the same spiritual values as my immediate family did. Grandpa was what I would label an agnostic. I’m not sure if he believed there was a god or not but it was quite clear that he had no desire for spiritual things whatsoever. Grandma was almost the complete opposite. She dabbled in many forms of spirituality including spiritism and the unity religion and also believed in reincarnation.

One thing was for sure, neither Grandma nor Grandpa had a personal relationship with Jesus. And even into my early thirties, if you would have told me that they both would have made professions of faith in Christ, I never would have believed you. But that is exactly what happened.

Grandpa got very ill and as his health deteriorated, I contacted a former pastor of the church I was pastoring at that time in Indiana who was Grandpa’s age. Pastor Ward Miller lived in Ocala, Florida where my grandparents lived and Pastor Miller made several visits to my grandparents resulting in my Grandpa receiving Christ as his Savior not long before he passed away. When Pastor Miller e-mailed me with the news of my grandpa’s decision, I was stunned. I never thought that it would ever be possible.

When I preached my Grandpa’s funeral I told his story and read the e-mail that Pastor Miller had sent me describing his conversion. I clearly explained the Gospel and gave an opportunity for others to also place their faith in Jesus. To my delight, my Grandma Williams gave her heart to Jesus that day at my Grandpa’s funeral. There was a notable difference in her life. She started attending the Baptist Church that my parents are part of and she was even baptized at the wondeful age of 80. What a story. What a God!

So to think that my Grandpa and Grandma Williams are in heaven today is a remarkable thought. To think that at this very moment, all four of my grandparents are in the presence of Jesus is mind-blowing. To think that one day I will be there with them is even more staggering. No wonder Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in me. In My Father’s House are many dwelling places. If it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to myself that where I am there you will be also (John 14:1-3)”.


Andy Jewett said...

what an amazing case for Grace.

Pastor Scott said...

You are so right, Andy! You are so right!