Sometimes the saddest part about someone dying is not their actual death. It’s a grown man being taken care of like a child because he’s lost the capacity to do it himself. A woman going home alone to an empty house. A child, watching his father–his strong, heroic father who always has it together–cry and hurt when faced with the death of his own strong, heroic father. A mother watching her children say goodbye. An older sister, watching as her mother explains what a hospice is to her two younger brothers who don’t understand.
Today, I am very sad. I am sad because of all of the things above, and I am sad because I saw my grandfather today–probably for the last time. But today, I am also very thankful. I am thankful that he looked at me when I held his hand and said “I love you,” and I am thankful that he told me he loved me too by squeezing my hand four times in response. I am thankful that soon, even though I will miss him terribly, my grandfather will have no more pain, no more suffering or sadness. He will be in the presence of the God who created him and loved him enough to become human and die so that my grandpa could be with Him one day. I am thankful that my grandpa will never again have to feel the sadness I feel right now. The burdens, worries, cares and troubles of this world will plague him no more.
And I thank God for that.
Because this world is sad. This life is hard. The hole someone can leave in our lives hurts a lot, and so do the residual effects of pain and grief I mentioned earlier. But my grandpa gets to escape that heartache. I’m going to be sad for a while. I’m going to miss him. And, honestly, I’m going to wish that he was still here. But I know it’s better that he isn’t, because more than anything I want him to get well. And I know that the second he is no longer here with us he will get well, and he will never be sick again.
My great-uncle found a penny minted in 1938–the year my grandfather was born. He brought it to my grandpa, who wanted me to have it since I’m his oldest grandchild. It, of course, has the words “In God we trust” inscribed over a likeness of Abraham Lincoln. And even though those words are written on all U.S. currency, I couldn’t help but feel comforted when I read that very small sentence.
“In God we trust.” I trust God that my Grandpa will be with Him and will never hurt again. I trust that I will see my grandpa again one day.
“In God we trust.” I trust that my God will hear me, as He promises in Micah 7:7.
“In God we trust.” I trust that God will heal my family’s hurt. I trust that he will comfort us and give us peace, and that we will be stronger because of this trial.
“In God we trust.” I trust God that I can be thankful in this trial, because it will strengthen my faith and draw me closer to the God who loves me. I trust that God will grant me joy despite my circumstances. I trust in James 1:1-4 where it says: “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
“In God we trust.” I trust that God has put amazing friends in my life who care about me and who are praying for me and loving on me during this hard time. I am so thankful for them and for their example of Christian love.
“In God we trust.” I trust in the promise that begins in verse 16 of Psalm 55 which says: “But I call to God, and the Lord saves me. Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and He hears my voice. He ransoms me unharmed from the battle waged against me, even though many oppose me. …Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall.”
When I cry out in sadness to God, He will hear me and He will save me. He will ransom my grandpa from this world and he will be more alive than he has ever been. I pray that God will grant me the ability to cast my cares and sadness on Him so that He can sustain me. And I know that no matter how hard or sad this life gets, My God will never let me fall.
We call my grandpa “G-Dad,” because when I was a baby I couldn’t pronounce “granddad.” G-Dad used to swing me upside-down from his arms, and he showed my brothers and I how to shoot our straw wrappers at each other in restaurants. He learned how to fly a plane, and he could fix almost anything that was broken. G-Dad taught me how to shoot, and he always used to have candy in his pockets during church on Sundays, which I would take, of course. He loves the Lord and he loves his family, and I will miss you G-Dad.