On May 5th the news was heartbreaking. My grandpa had been admitted into the hospital one month before we were going to leave to see him. It had been 12 years since I had seen him, and my two youngest had never met him. The entire time planning the trip was one filled with hesitation and overwhelm. My heart often wandered to regret and guilt because of the time that had lapsed.
My grandpa was admitted into the hospital for pneumonia and congestive heart failure on May 5th. They helped with the pneumonia by giving him steroids. We were happy to hear he was getting better, but our hearts were sad to hear after 94 years of being independent and taking care of himself, he was being admitted into a nursing home. But our hearts rejoiced that God had spared his life one more time.
Two weeks before our planned vacation I finally allowed myself to feel excited and happy with the upcoming trip. I felt motivated to finally pack and plan this trip. But that excitement was short lived, my mom had called me to tell me that my grandpa was in the hospital again with a hole in his stomach, my excitement quickly turned into anger. According to the doctors there was nothing they could do for him because of his health and his age. Just two weeks away from seeing him, I feared it was two weeks to late. It all felt like a big joke, I could hear Satan mocking me and laughing in the background. I often thought “how could God allow this to happen?”
If there is one thing I learned from reading the book of Job, it’s that God will take responsibility for everything, the good and the bad. So in my heart, even though sickness and death is a result of sin, God is the One who ultimately controls the events and the outcome of this world. My heart was confused, why now, why isn’t God stopping this, doesn’t He KNOW how much our heart had longed to see him one more time? I was confused, angry, and my faith and hope was being tested more than it ever had been. But a good friend reminded me:
“Because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” James 1:3
Even though I know the lessons learned right now have made me stronger, I surely felt this was just too harsh, and just too cruel.
However the testing of my faith brought me to a place where I realized that it’s not really faith or hope when you feel entitled to the outcome you are praying for. My heart felt entitled because I hadn’t seen him in so long. But God revealed to me that IF He were to spare my grandpa’s life yet again, it wasn’t because I was entitled, it would be because God was honoring the life my grandpa had lived. I felt peace with that, although I feared the worse. My heart would crumble and my faith would need to be rebuilt again if the worst had happened, but I knew in my heart I was not entitled, and I knew that in the end, since my grandpa was a believer, I would see him again one day.
After much prayer and by a true miracle the doctors were able to repair the hole in my grandpa’s stomach. Once again, God had spared his life, and all I felt after that was HIS GRACE.
Now, as I sit here three days out from seeing my grandpa again, and introducing him to my two youngest children, my heart is so full of joy. Seeing God work this miracle has grown me and renewed my faith in Him and HIS timing. I look back on 12 years lost of not seeing my grandpa for the only reason that we didn’t have the money, he lived so far away, and my husband and I were so busy raising little ones. I have seen God work a miracle, and I have seen His promises come to pass.
As I look back I see that there is no regret, God has been in control all along and we are here, right now, in His perfect timing. God has honored my grandpa. God is in control of my life. I have been too busy clinging to the desire to maneuver and control what’s next. Even though it was painful, God and my grandpa have taught me important lessons and they have given me MORE faith and MORE hope for the future. I now feel I have the strength to face whatever comes next. The battle I feel is not over and it has just begun, but God has used this time to prepare me and to rebuild what was weak and frail in my heart and in my faith.
And I can rejoice in this truth:
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9
As our time visiting with my grandpa ends I can’t help but feel like time is running out. I only have a few days, hours, to say “goodbye.” I am truly overwhelmed with the idea that all the time I spend with him could very well be the last…and I miss him already.
But yet again God is revealing to me that there will NEVER be enough time this side of eternity, but praise Jesus we have eternity to look forward to. My grandpa is a believer, I know one day I will see him again, and we will have eternity to make for lost time…but I sure am going to miss him. I’m not ready to say goodbye, but I do know that whatever happens God’s hand is all over my life, my grandpa’s life, and this trip was nothing more than a gift from God.