photo by neal horstmeyer

it was surreal.  i awakened at 3:34am.  i knew something was up.  i paused.  i rolled on my back and looked at the ceiling.  and i prayed.

my grandmother was very ill.  she had slipped into a coma just days before.  and in two hours my alarm would sound to waken me so that i could travel, to be with the family as we waited.

in that moment i prayed, for my family who had been there for weeks, for my energy that i would be able to drive to nearly six hours after such a fitful sleep.  and above all, for peace.  grandma was at peace, with the diagnosis, with the life she lived, and with the path God had chosen to bring her Home.  i prayed that the rest of us could live in, rely on, and exhibit that same peace as the coming days unfolded.

i fell back asleep.  as planned, my 5:30am alarm sounded.  i lay there for a few more minutes, praying again, and the phone rang.  it was my dad.  he called to say that grandma ruth went Home at 3:30am that day.  he made sure i would be okay to drive. after hanging up, i praised God, thanking Him for waking me up earlier, for giving me that time of prayer, and for filling me with peace–even when that peace came with tears.

arriving at her home, hours after her death, the house was in a state of calm–a blessed way to come into the situation.  my history in publishing came in handy as we put together the memorial service booklet.  as the days unfolded, we pulled together pictures, information, and stories.  i wanted the bottom of each page to have some of grandma’s favorite verses.  my aunt, who had lived with grandma for several years, commented that grandma kept a bookmark in her Bible with a list of verses on it that she would study.

grabbing her Bible, my mom and i found the bookmark, splitting the list and looking up the verses.  passage after passage of scripture detailed grandma’s final months of Bible study.

what does a woman facing a terminal diagnosis and short prognosis study?  we anticipated verses about peace, the will of God, and possibly the joy of salvation.  instead, what we got, were passage after passage about false teachers.  my mom and i laughed at the total absurdity.  we weren’t even close to guessing what she had actually been studying.

years later, i have pondered this many times.  grandma’s heart was for her family.  she would pray unceasingly for us.  and she longed that we each knew the truth of God’s Word.  it made sense that she would search out God’s wisdom and warning about false teachings–that she was so focused on communicating truth to her family, she prayed against the enemy at work.

but sitting here i realize…

she wasn’t looking up verses about peace because she already had it.

she didn’t search out assurances of salvation, because she knew that intimately.

and she didn’t search out issues surrounding God’s will because she had long ago accepted that His way was best.

she didn’t need these reassurances.  she’d deep-down believed these things for decades.  she believed them as automatically as we blink our eyes.  these were not questions for her.

and they weren’t because she placed her life and will in the hands of the Father.  she submitted to His will, she gloried in His glory, and she served under His mighty hand.  her reliance on His word bled through every ounce of her being.  her heart was for people to know the Truth, so she relied on the one book that would give her that truth.

her final words before the coma took over were, “i love you.  God is good.”  her final words reflected intimate, utter reliance on the Father.  and she knew Him through His Word.  her bible, so worn it had been bound and re-bound many times, connected her to the Father–and gave her His perspective.  that book, a prized inheritance, stands as testimony to her complete reliance on God.  she knew that book back and forth.  it was hers, from the Father, to her very heart.

where do you place your faith?  where do you get your information about the Father?  as much as i appreciate that you read my words, i sadden at the prospect that some do not seek the Word for themselves.  do you rely on the words of mere mortals?  or do you seek first the eternal words of the Father who called us as simple messengers?

you may not be called to write, but you are called to read.  you are called, just as grandma ruth was called, to read the very Word of God.  it is His Word that will change your life.

and when the time comes for you to breathe your last, what will reflect your life?  for grandma ruth it was one Book–and it was all she needed to fulfill the will of the Father.

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