Saturday, June 16, 2012

Amazing Grace

Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me... I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see... Emotionally there are moments when we come to the end of ourselves. Our own human strength runs out. Our mental stamina wears thing. We need grace. In those moments of pure exhaustion we turn to the one who can sustain us. He saves us. And, oh how precious does that grace appear those hours when we first believe. When we have run out our own will to go on we find a failing so beautiful, so divine that it is awe inspiring. It is lyrical and melodic. It's tune becomes a lullaby through life. Once we first experience the hope and security of His amazing grace, we cling to it. It is our assurance and our security. One day there will be a day when we come to the end of our physical selves. Our bodies will wear out, our breathing will slip away and our hearts will cease to beat. We will experience another type of weakness and, just like the moment when we ran emotionally dry, we will feel helplessness as the our body gives out. But in that moment, something beautiful happens. We are shown something so miraculous that it makes the suffering and pains of death insignificant. We see glory. When all physical capacities are gone and our earthly living is complete, we are shown the most remarkable vision. All of the weakness felt on earth, all the suffering endured comes into focus. Our blindness is restored to full sight. We can see the picture God had been painting all the years of our lives. Every up and down, valley and mountain comes into focus. Every turn along our journey makes perfect sense. And then, the most stunning picture of all. We see our Heavenly Father - the one who we yearned for, longed to meet and cried out to. We finally meet Him face to face. And every moment on earth is a sweet memory. We see the meaning of our lives. We reap the promises of God. We see the many mansions, the streets of gold and the angles singing praises. Everything that seemed a mystery on earth is revealed. When you are assured of your place in Heaven, death doesn't seem so bad. In fact, death is cause for celebration. Someone who once had to endure the pressures and complications of this life now gets to enjoy eternity in Heaven... perfect, endless, glorious Heaven. What could be better? Last night my Grandma passed away. Some people shed tears at the passing of a loved one but I must admit I feel nothing but happiness. Her last few years on this earth were so labored. Her physical capabilities were reduced to breathing. She couldn't feed herself or even sit up on her own. For a woman who enjoyed church responsibilities and a teaching job as an adult I'm sure watching herself deteriorate in this way was devastating. When my Grandma was young many women didn't go to college. But she did. She graduated first in her high school class - a small number of students but still quite an accomplishment. She went on to college and became an English teacher. She also played piano, her true love in life if you ask me. She had a passion for music. As an adult she played piano for church until Parkinson's disease stripped her of her ability to control her fingers. What the disease took from her fingers couldn't be taken from her spirit. She then joined the choir. As time went by her body wouldn't allow her to do that either. But when you love something as deeply as she did - lyrics and a melody - you can't take that away from someone. She stood in the front row of the congregation and whistled along. She was an incredible whistler - no doubt the best I've ever heard. At the end of her life she was in a nursing home, confined to her bed by night and a wheelchair by day. But you know what? She still whistled. My Dad would play piano and she would whistle along while using her hands to conduct his tempo and rhythm. At times in the music she would feel a crescendo coming on and would direct him to up his volume and intensity. At other moments she would "Shh" his playing that was too loud for the melody and lyrics of the given tune. She loved her music and knew how she liked it performed. Up until the very end she kept that love alive. In the last few months even her conducting had grown faint. She barely whistled, if at all. She was getting ready to go home. Then, last night, with Amazing Grace playing in the background and her son and daughter holding her hands, she went home to glory. Her physical body came to the end of itself but her soul went to its true home, the place it had yearned for since that very first time she found God's amazing grace. Her family left here on this earth can rejoice for her. She is home! She is in the presense of the most holy God and she is enjoying the most spectacular music, a melody that we can't even comprehend. I can see it now, and do you know what I see? Grandma, sitting behind a piano, whistlilng while she plays. When we've been there ten thousand years, bright shinging as the sun. We've no less days to sing God's praise then when we've first begun... Play in peace, Grandma.

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