I’m so happy to have Tricia sharing on the blog today! I hope you enjoy her heart!
Growing up, I knew my grandfather loved me. I have wonderful memories of things we did together. Sometimes he gave me pony rides on his knee. Other times we sat side-by-side on the couch, cracking walnuts together. (I ate more than I put into the bowl!) Sometimes when we drove to town he’d let me sit on his lap and I’d steer his truck. I was a Papa’s girl, without a doubt.
Papa was eighty-two years old when the diagnosis of bladder cancer came. He told us he’d had a good life, and he didn’t want to go through chemo treatments. Instead, he and my grandma moved in with our family, and I helped care for him during his last months on earth.
… A few days before he died, my grandfather glimpsed heaven and gave a full report. I was out of the room, but my grandmother sat by his side. She was singing and praying when my grandfather interrupted her.
“Dear, do you smell that?” he asked. “It’s the most wonderful aroma.”
Then he pointed outside the window. “Look at those birds. Have you ever seen such beautiful birds?” As he stared ahead, Papa’s eyebrows lifted and he peered closer. “Oh, do you see that lion? If I were an artist I would love to paint that lion.”
Then the image of the lion apparently faded and a new vision appeared. With this one, Papa lifted his hands and started weeping, praising and worshiping Jesus. My grandma rushed to get me, and soon we were worshiping with him. Only afterward did my grandfather explain what he had seen. As he stared at the tree outside the bedroom window, the tree transformed into a cross and he witnessed Jesus hanging from it. Then Jesus, in all His glory, stepped forward and stretched out His arms to my grandfather.
My grandfather’s experience reminded me of Revelation 5:5: “But one of the twenty-four elders said to me, ‘Stop weeping! Look, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the heir to David’s throne, has won the victory. He is worthy to open the scroll and its seven seals’” (NLT).
During his last conscious moments, Papa blew a kiss at me and waved. I will always cherish that memory. It was his final good-bye.
Walking with my grandfather as he transitioned from earthly to eternal life showed me how thin the veil is between heaven and earth. When death stopped at our home, eternity ripped open, allowing a saint to step into the place his Savior had been preparing for him.
My grandfather was great in my eyes, but to the world he was no one important. One of eleven children, he was raised on a farm in Kansas, and his family moved to California during the Dust Bowl. He served in World War II, married a shy waitress, and raised three girls. He worked in a door factory until he retired, and then he tended a small garden behind his mobile home. He became a Christian later in life and lived a simple faith. But according to his Savior, a simple faith was all that was needed.
Jesus gives us an eternity with Him in exchange for a submissive heart that dares to trust and believe His life, death, and resurrection make us right before God.
Papa probably made millions of decisions throughout his life, but when it came down to that chilly day in March, as he breathed his last breath, only one of those decisions mattered—he had chosen Jesus to be his Lord.
—An excerpt from Walk It Out: The Radical Result of Living God’s Word One Step At a Time