This past Sunday from Eph. 5:20, we considered every believer’s Holy Spirit-empowered calling of “…giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ…”. We learned that giving thanks in this manner is ultimately a matter of FAITH. Faith in the God who works all things together for good for His people (Rom. 8:28), the One who also works all things according to the counsel of His will (Eph. 1:11). Because God is who He is, and because He’s given all He’s given in Jesus Christ, we can indeed thank Him. ALWAYS. And for EVERYTHING.
This morning I received the following email from a pastor friend in another state. As you read, you’ll quickly understand the circumstance prompting his thoughts. Even more, I trust you’ll quickly see his faith-driven example of thankfulness, even through deep grief and tears. And beloved, I pray you and I together will be encouraged to give thanks always and for everything all the more. My friend entitled his thoughts simply “Without”.
Like countless other grandparents before, my wife and I waited for months anticipating the birth of our first grandson. On Monday evening Nov. 30, that wait ended with his birth – an 8lb., 3oz. strawberry blonde, blue eyed boy – born to our son and his wife. But only hours later, after the reality of a weak heart made breathing a challenge too great to meet – our grandson died. One word has pressed its way into my mind this morning: WITHOUT.
Without taking a step, he walked into our hearts and expanded our capacity to love, and to hurt, and to hope; to feel.
Without saying a word, he drove us deep into the truth of Scripture and declared a God who knows, a God who cares, a God whose plans are not our own; plans far better than our own.
Without reaching out a hand, he touched us, and warmed us, and reminded us of the beauty and fragility of life; showing us God’s great gift.
Without a smile, he brought joy.
Without a cry, he brought tears.
In just a few hours we are certain he was without sin – but equally certain as a child of man he was not without guilt. Yet, God’s Word leads us to believe he did not die without hope. A hope that comes from the source of all hope; the reality of God’s grace afforded through His Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. While we are without full understanding of how; we are without doubt confident that our grandson is kept by the very grace that keeps all of us who believe in Him.
Without ever climbing, or reaching, or striving; this boy made his parents proud.
Without ever falling, or scratching, or bruising; he drove them to trust in God’s catching, God’s mending, and God’s healing most of all.
Without ever knowing it, he wrote this letter on my heart. Without crayon or paper, he scribbled truth that is timeless – it is God who gives life, numbers our days, and measures eternity.
And now you have read his letter. By that, he has walked into your life, spoken into your ears, reached out and touched you, and warmed you, and reminded you. He has, I pray, brought you some joy – and some tears. He has declared the hope of God’s amazing grace. He has urged you to rest in God’s arms, trust in God’s Son, and realize God’s promise of everlasting life.
Had he lived a hundred years it is hard to think how his life could have made more difference; all without living one full day.
God’s grace to you all – – without a doubt, without measure, without end.
Because Jesus lives, and is returning,