Monday, November 7, 2011

My Tribute to Grandpa

Yesterday was a difficult day for my family. It certainly turned out to be a day of "heartache and rejoicing". We miss Grandpa dearly, but we are so happy for him, and jealous that he is face to face with our wonderful Savior and Father. 

The following is what I said at the funeral yesterday before singing "It is Well With My Soul" with my dad. I've also included the arrangement of the lyrics as we sang it. It was the hardest song I've ever had to sing, and it had nothing to do with the difficulty of the song. My desire was to honor Grandpa. I hope I honored him well.

Here is what I said:
Grandpa Wayne was a strong man, not just physically, but also in his love for his country, his dedication to his family, and His faith in Christ. He was simple and straightforward—you always knew where he stood no matter the topic. He could be quite stern, but he could also be just as silly and fun-loving, especially with children. He delighted in his grandchildren. He loved to make us laugh. His life wasn’t easy, but I know he would tell you that it was a good life.

No matter what you could say about him, that he was a proud veteran, a hard-working farmer, a delighted grandfather, dedicated father, devoted husband… all of those pale in comparison to good and faithful servant. We always used to joke that the food would be cold before Grandpa would finish saying grace. His prayers were long-winded, but they were sincere. This is something I’ve always known, but I really came to understand it a couple of months ago. In September, I had the opportunity to go through his books with my mom. There were a few books from his Navy days and a few related to farming, but the vast majority of his modest collection reflected his faith—Bible commentaries, Sunday school manuals, Christian biographies, and the like. On the same day, I found the Bible that he gave me when I was seven years old. It was the only gift I can recall him giving me directly. The day he moved into the nursing home he told me that there was something so special about God's Word, that it moved him in a way no other book could.

           When I found the Bible he gave me, I opened it and realized he had written something in it which I’d like to read to you:

                                                                        October 1, 1982
            To Stephanie: from Grandpa.
            Dear Stephanie,
I want to give you this Bible so that you might have it to read and enjoy during the years of your young life. The Bible is God’s written Word and we should believe all of it from Genesis to Revelation. Jesus said, “My Word is truth, and the truth shall make you free indeed.” The psalmist David said, “thy Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee.” So it is not what man says that’s important but rather what God says in His Holy Book. If any person tells us things, or teaches doctrines that disagree with what God says in His word, then we should not believe or follow them.
                                                                        Love and best wishes always,
                                                                        “Pa-Pa Wayne”

           Grandpa is now at peace. He has taken his place in Heaven’s grandstands, cheering on those of us who share his faith in Christ. As Mom says, he is dancing a jig before his beloved Savior. And one day I pray all of us here will join him.

          Grandpa’s greatest legacy is his love for Christ and his sincere service of our Lord. I’m so thankful for my Grandpa Wayne and the true Christian heritage he has left to us.

This is the arrangement we used for the song. If you don't know the story behind this song, it is worthwhile to take the time to read it. I think it will take on a much greater depth of meaning for you when you know the story. You may notice that we did change the verses around a bit to shorten the song a little and to utilize the lyrics that best fit the situation. Here, also the Brian Doerkson version of the song, one of the best I've heard.

It Is Well With My Soul 
by, Horatio Spafford 

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.


It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life,
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.


But Lord, 'tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul. 

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.


It is well, it is well, with my soul.

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