by Gail Rodgers
We all called her “Grandma”. She was my dear friend’s mom. At nearly 90 she was still so cheerful and positive, gracious and gentle. Her last weeks were marked by pain and weakness yet she did not complain. She knew her time here was drawing to an end yet she had no fear. No fear of what was next; only calm assurance, and even eager anticipation that she would soon be in Heaven.
This week Grandma died. Her funeral service was a celebration of a life well lived in quiet strength. But the resounding message that speaker after speaker gave in their tribute to Grandma was the message that Grandma knew where she was going and was eager to be on her way. After one bout of weakening illness from her cancer “Grandma” jokingly commented to her doctor, “I just can’t seem to kick the bucket”!
Raised in a strong Roman Catholic home, and having a sister who dedicated her life to being a nun in Africa, Grandma always believed in God. She knew He was out there somewhere and she tried hard to please Him even though life was not always easy. Through the hills and the valleys of 89 years of life, Grandma’s faith grew.
This week we sat around and reminisced about Grandma. We looked at pictures and we shed our tears for the loss of this dear one. But what we kept coming back to was Grandma’s assurance of knowing she was Heaven bound. It was so strong and it gave us renewed hope as well. We were refreshed by this assurance of Grandma’s. As we talked we had a need to “nail it down” and make sure we could translate that same assurance into our own lives. We all know, only too well, how death can come at unexpected times and in unexpected ways. To have the peace of being certain of Heaven, as Grandma was, is what God calls “being saved”.
Over the years Grandma had grown to know that faith in God is so much more than just believing in a God who lives away out there.
She understood the verse that says,
“For God so loved the world, (Grandma) that He gave His only begotten son (Jesus), that whoever (Grandma) believes in Him will not perish but (Grandma) will have everlasting life.” John 3:16
That is a sure promise of life in Heaven! It also says,
“If you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9
Believing: Understanding in your heart that Jesus is God’s son and did die on the cross for you.
Receiving: Making it personal, putting your name in the verse, knowing He did this for you and accepting His forgiveness
Confessing: Telling someone you believe and receive.
That’s it… that’s what Grandma did… that’s what I did. No magic formula. A simple act of the heart and of the mouth.
And then God does His amazing part! He welcomes you as His own dear child. He gives you the Holy Spirit as your comfort and guide and He walks with you. You choose each day to include Him or exclude Him in your decisions and in your choices. As He journeys along side you, the more you choose to include Him, the more His peace and His comfort hold you through the hills and valleys of life. And when your time comes to leave this earth, you know the destination is assured.
When we put away Grandma’s things this week we found this prayer in her own handwriting, in her Bible. A prayer that can be prayed by anyone who longs to know her eternal destination in Heaven is secure…
You too can be assured of not only Heaven as your final home, but also of a Savior who will walk with you through life.
Don’t pass up the peace and the freedom from fear that Grandma knew. God meant it for you too.