I was playing Harvest Moon on the Gamecube (Christians have a small selection of video games) when Dad told me Grandma B., his mother, had passed. She was the first of my grandparents to leave this world and, twist my arm, I’d say I’ll miss her the most.
Her death was a surprise because, ironically, grandma was ALWAYS sick! She had a hundred and two maladies, but nothing could kill her. It got to the point where every new thing was just an irritation, rather than a threat. But then suddenly, she was gone, almost randomly.
And the timing couldn’t have been worse.
Not long after my mom married my dad, they felt God call them to leave that particular church for various reasons. To the members of that church, including Grandma B., that was like leaving Christianity itself. Everyone saw it as Mom taking Dad away from the faith, once more including Grandma B. Because of this, Grandma and Mom never got along. For years, there was a rift between them, and while they slower grew closer together, they never met.
In the later years, you could tell Mom and Grandma wanted to get over everything, but something always kept them apart. Finally, in January, 2005, they finally sat down and had a night together. They didn’t talk about their issues, vent any feelings, or anything so grandiose, but they just had a good night, a REALLY good night. It was the first night Mom came back from Grandma’s where she could genuinely say everything was awesome and nothing went wrong. It was a fantastic step in the right direction.
The next morning, Grandma was dead.
I was pretty frustrated by this turn of events. They finally started getting along and just like that, it was over. I wondered why God, moving in both Mom and Grandma’s life, would take Grandma B. at that exact time, when things were starting to go so well.
At the funeral, I got my answer. I learned a lot about Grandma, about how her compassion knew no bounds. She let a homeless man stay in her home one night because she refused to let him sleep in the cold. She had several friends and family members stay with her over time, and generally kept her door open to everyone.
The only exception I could garnish from her history was my own mother. It was an odd move in the woman’s life brought on by what Grandma thought was Mom taking Dad away from God.
And yet, though Grandma was hit by every sickness you could fathom, nothing ended her. Not until she had mended her relationship with my mom. The instant that happened, grandma was taken.
The Bible says in Acts 13:36 that “David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, he fell asleep, was buried with his fathers…” David, in tune with God, died only when his purpose was completed in the world, just as Jesus ascended after his work had been completed.
I think Grandma was taken in the same way. She lived a strong, compassionate life, but she did not die, despite multiple illnesses, until that one last relationship was restored.
In Philippians 1:6, Paul said he was confident that, “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the Day of Jesus Christ.” That means God will fulfill his purposes for all of his followers, and will continue to do so until the end of time, when Jesus returns. That’s a good message of hope and a great comfort that God still has control over everything.
Nothing stops God, not even us.