A quiet strength. That’s what he had. My grandpa; who passed away today.
The Lord blessed him with a long life, although most of us thought he would live forever. Even in his late years he was still strong as an ox. He had an appetite of a 16-year-old boy. Eating spoon full’s of gravy and putting butter in his coffee. He taught me to sprinkle salt on each bite of a full cucumber when I was a child.
He had a strong back and long arms. Like God sculpted him specifically for gardening.
I remember he would come over to our house growing up to work in the dirt. He would spend the whole day laboring in the hot sun, hardly ever breaking for a glass of water or snack. He had the work-ethic of not just a man from the ol’ days but of a Mennonite. True to his denominational convictions he lived a life-style of service and frugality.
Not only did he volunteer his time at the gleaners, preparing rejected but still-good vegetables into soup for those in need, he also was an avid dumpster-diver. I remember him bringing us a toaster-oven he found at the dump that he had cleaned up. He was right; it was still good and we used it for many years.
But grandpa wasn’t just a worker, he was a thinker. He was well read and a thoughtful theologian. He knew what he believed and why he believed it. And it bothered him when others didn’t stand by their convictions. I appreciate him for that.
His office desk was strewn with books and there was usually an open Bible prominently placed in the center. I remember him reading from the Daily Bread during every breakfast when I spent the night at grandma and grandpa’s growing up.
More than anything I loved the way he prayed. Dinner time wasn’t just a ritualistic prayer. It was when my grandpa got to pick up where he left off with God. Like he had been talking to his heavenly Father all day. He had a relationship with Jesus, that was clear. And infectious. At a young age I knew there was something different about my grandpa. Even though I didn’t understand what wisdom was, I was still able to notice that grandpa had it.
And because of his example I prayed that God would make me wise, just like him.
Unbeknownst to my grandfather he showed me a kind of manhood I’d never seen before. Some might say it was just because he was from a different generation, but that would be false. It came from his desire to serve the Lord. It was a self-sacrificing kind of leadership. A lot like Jesus.
And when it was time for me to marry, I believe my choice was rooted in the example of my grandfather. Which made it all the more meaningful when my grandpa filled the shoes of my recently passed father and walked me down the aisle on my wedding day ten years ago.
Grandpa’s heritage lives on now through us, his family. And I pray we do him justice.
I pray his roots of deep love for Jesus go on and on through the lives of my children and beyond. And I am so grateful that he loved the Lord and was faithful to pass it on. I’m thankful that he is with his Saviour now and is rejoicing in that place. And I’m thankful he is being reunited with his wife, my grandma, and all those who have gone before him.
I am so relieved that because of the Good News of the gospel none of this is goodbye, but just, see you soon.
This is our great hope. And it is why I can smile.
Walter is with Jesus.
He is home.
Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own great presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today, and bright hope for tomorrow
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside.
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!