It is a stormy morning in South Carolina. The sound of thunder and rain outside and the presence of the Holy Spirit in my room. My sweet sister and niece sleep and I sit praying and asking the Holy Spirit to flood this space.
I ask for the words of my heart to match the meditations of my soul this day.
The measure of man. I was not prepared yesterday when I walked into the hospital room to see my grandfather. It has been several years since we had seen one another and the last time was in Florida over some good bbq at a little place he and my grandmother enjoyed. My husband and I had driven to Florida for his fathers funeral and we had taken the trip a few hours south to see my grandparents. When I had called to tell them we were coming to see them they were so excited. Time, distance and money had challenged the years making it hard to see one another. Yet there they were when we drove up, waiting on the porch with open arms and warm hugs. We visited and had a meal together and it felt so nice. Yesterday when we walked in to the room there lay my grandfather. Though in stature he was small and slender, skin soft, bruised and worn, I saw something in him in a completely different way. I saw the measure of this man.
As I walked in I was overcome by emotion. The stroke has left it hard for him to see at times without tilting his head. As one by one we walked to his bedside he would adjust his head to see us “just right” and he would call us by name, weeping and thanking his Jesus for us being there, the chance to see his loved ones and be together. He repeated that as one by one we saw him face to face. When you embraced my father I saw the presence of the Lord wash over them and I saw the measure of this man. When he opened his eyes and said oh my precious beautiful Leslie I saw the measure of this man. I saw the radiant light of Jesus literally glowing from his face. I felt the power of the most high God flooding that space. As I bent over the bed to kiss him and love on him and reassure him that he had no need to be sorry that we were here out of love I realized in that moment the measure of this man. I look for words to explain the changes in my relationship over the many years but all I can say is this. God restores. He takes things and gives us new eyes to see. Many years ago as my grandfather and I connected through shared emails and phone calls God did just that. Others might not understand it but that is quite okay. So for me yesterday to experience healing at the side of my grandfathers bed…..I got to see the measure of this man.
The measure of a man is not about the money he has made. It is not about the house, the cars, the job title. It is not about his failures, the things he should have, could have, would have done. The measure of a man is the way he has lived his life to honor God. I have made so many mistakes in my life as have we all and there are many wonderful things we have all done so right. This mans faith took his family to church and from that faith the size of a mustard seed something grew.
I remember being a grown woman with a few children walking out of the little country church my father grew up in. My dad laughed that Sunday morning and said it was the first time he recalled leaving church without getting a switch on his hind parts for being naughty. Yet the measure of this man took his family to church and planted in my father a love of my precious Lord and gave me the greatest gift of all, my own faith. This mans faith knows his Jesus can heal him right where he lays. This mans faith knows a better place is waiting for Him where he will walk with our Jesus on streets paved with gold.
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.Martin Luther King Jr., Strength to Love, 1963
The measure of this man, my grandfather is in his unwavering love, devotion and dedication to God. He has lived a life of purpose. He has filled that God shaped hole we are all created with, with a living loving God. He has spent his years making a relationship with the Lord and woven that through all the parts of his life. I know he prays for me, prays for his family and for all the details of our lives. I know that daily he has had his time with the Lord, in prayer and in worship. And here as he faces challenge and sickness and even death there is a peace that passes all understanding that is the reflection of the measure of this man. For this man stands and rests and lives at the feet of Jesus.
When my grandmother walked in the hospital room I don’t think she knew who we were. She nodded as we said hello at first and though she acknowledged a few of us by name at one point her memory didn’t allow her to fully remember and understand our relationship to her. Yet as she walked in and saw my grandfather she knew this man who she has spent over 60 years loving and as she was eased into the chair at his bed side I could hear her cry out to her living loving GOD! Then my grandfather would quietly console and comfort her and many times I heard him remind her of Jesus’ love for them both. I remember sitting as a young girl beside her at the organ bench as she worshipped Jesus in song, making melody for the Lord.
There in that place lays the measure of this man and this woman. For when all else fails and fades away there is a light that radiates from them that reflects the love of a living loving God.
I am honored to be your granddaughter grandpa. I am honored and blessed. As you asked me about each one of my children by name and as I shared with you even then you asked the Lord to touch their lives in a mighty way. As you reminded me of your love for me and as you encouraged me with your words know this, your life and your legacy is a family that loves and serves your living and loving God. I thank you that of all the things you have accomplished in your life, of all the joys and pains, successes and struggles, that you never wavered in your walk and love for our living loving God. That you wove through the tapestry of your life the golden threads of faith, hope and love and with a commitment to walk out your faith. That you trained up your children in the way they should go. The word of God is living and does not return void. I watched you yesterday as you interacted with each person whether it was a family member or medical staff. I listened as you told each one you were doing good and then gave thanks to Jesus and spoke of His goodness to you. Your faith is amazing and your love for the Lord shows everyone that meets you the measure of this man. All night as I lay in bed praying and crying out to the Lord and as I woke this morning this song was in my mind Grandpa when I thought of you……
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sk3aPIOHc-g&feature=related Jesus Lover of my Soul
Jesus, Lover of my soul,
Jesus, I will never let you go
You’ve taken me from the miry clay
You’ve set my feet upon the Rock,
and now i know
I love you,
I need you,
Though my world may fall,
I’ll never let you go
My Saviour, my closest friend,
I will worship you until the very end
I love you grandpa.