I know I posted about my Pawpaw yesterday, but when you live 83 years and have as much wisdom as he did your life is full of stories. I thought I’d share one more. This one didn’t actually come from Pawpaw, but it’s one my Daddy told me about him a day or so after he died.
We were sitting around the table at Nana’s house, looking for pictures to use in a slide show during the funeral. A large plastic bag full of everything Pawpaw had in his pockets when he died was on the table.
Just about everything someone could need if he or she had to fix something was inside. A pair of pliers, a piggy bank’s worth of loose change, some drill bits, two pocket knives, his wallet, a tube of ChapStick and some Tums were just a few of the things contained in the bag.
I wondered aloud how one man could carry so many things in his pockets. Daddy just looked at the bag, smiled and said, “He was always prepared.”
Then Daddy told me a story. It made me laugh, but it has also stuck with me. One day he and Pawpaw were working in one of our five chicken houses, and Daddy had the wrong tool. “I need a 7/16,” he told Pawpaw. Pawpaw crammed his hand into his pocket, dug around a while, brought out a 7/16 and presented it to Daddy.
Pawpaw was prepared for anything. It was a good thing, too, because when he came home from the chicken house 12 days ago and sat down in his recliner he didn’t know he’d never get up again. None of us did. He wasn’t planning on leaving this world that day, but he was prepared to go.
Knowing Pawpaw was prepared brings me comfort, but it also brings me hope. The death of someone you love deals a blow that can knock you to your knees. We think of death as final, but the truth is it’s never an end. It’s a passage. It’s the fork in the road so to speak, and which road a you’ll take when you come to the end of your own life depends solely upon your answer to one question.
It was asked long ago by a man some thought was simply the son of a carpenter and some thought was the Son of God.
“Who do you say I am?”
Eternity is placed in the heart of every boy and girl born into this world. Where they spend eternity when this life is through depends on what they do with Jesus while they’re here.
My Pawpaw was a soldier in the Army, and he saw combat in the Korean War. He knew the reality of death, and he saw it overseas. He knew death was an inevitable part of life, and he knew he’d have to face it one day. Pawpaw was a great man, but he was far from perfect. He had a problem, one that was leading him toward the wrong road, but he knew how to solve it. He knew when he reached the fork in the road, when the time came for him to face death, he wanted to take the road that led to life because one death is enough. He also knew the only way to pass from death here to life in Heaven was to surrender his life to Jesus. Pawpaw knew he wasn’t perfect, but he knew Jesus was. He knew Jesus died for him, and he trusted Jesus to make him perfect in the sight of God. Pawpaw believed Jesus was the only way to Heaven, and He is. My Pawpaw was prepared to face death because of Jesus.
You can be, too.
None of us are perfect, but God’s standard for Heaven is perfection. Jesus is the only person who’s ever lived who meets that standard on His own merit. So God sent Him to die as a sacrifice for you and me, who are imperfect, and a solution to the problem we all face. He died, and then rose again, to pave the way for us to have life in Heaven after we face death on Earth.
Put your trust in Him. Believe He’s the Son of God, He gave his life for you, and He’s the only way to face death with any hope. Trust Him to save you. If you surrender your life to Jesus, He will never steer you wrong.
Will there be trouble, sorrow and sadness? Absolutely. Life is still hard, but when you’re leaning on Jesus you can get through anything. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the 28 years I’ve lived, it’s life is precious and short.
Breaths are given, not guaranteed. When you take your last one, your body will die. Your spirit, which is the eternal part of you, will live on. Where it will live, for eternity, is up to you and whether you accept or reject Jesus.
Death took my Pawpaw in an instant — the doctor said cardiac arrest — but he’s more alive now than ever before. Pawpaw knew Jesus was the only way to Heaven and hope. He trusted Him and Him alone. When Pawpaw’s time on earth was done, he saw his faith pay off and the reward will never end. Now, because of Jesus, I have faith Pawpaw’s death was not final and I will see him again.
What about you? Who do you say Jesus is? You may not be planning to go, but I hope you’re always prepared.