3 Lessons From My Grandpa's Heart

It's no secret that in this crazy world things get hard and it's easy to become overwhelmed or give in to fear.

As a young adult and recent college graduate, I feel like I'm constantly undergoing major periods of transition and change in my life. I've been in and out of several different dorms/apartments and jobs, some friendships have changed or dissolved, and I've seen the beginning and end of several dating relationships (no matter how short lived).

Nothing stays the same.

Over the past few years, I have watched as the health of all four of my grandparents has declined; sometimes the decline was gradual and other times it was anything but. Those who know me know that I love those close to me deeply and I also sometimes struggle with anxiety that immediately causes me to start making contingency plans for worst case scenarios.

In March, one of my grandfathers underwent open heart surgery to have a valve replacement and a double bypass. This was an incredibly scary thing to me and many of my family members although some probably would not admit it. We love my grandfather dearly, and if it is God's will we all hope to have much more time with him. My grandfather has 22 grandchildren and he has always loved us as individuals and done whatever he could to support us. This is, of course, a wonderful quality to have in a family member; however, what we as a family admire even more is his steadfast faith in our Savior and his dedication to ensuring that we too know God's grace.

Prior to his open heart surgery, my grandpa told one of my cousins, "No matter what happens I'll be in better shape on the other side of this surgery." This struck me, not because it showed a relative calmness in the face of major surgery (which was impressive enough by human standards), but because it showed me his absolute faith in his citizenship in God's kingdom.

By God's grace, the Holy Spirit has worked faith in my grandpa's heart, my heart, and the hearts of all Christians to know a few things:

  • First, God is our King, ruler over all and in control of absolutely everything.
  • Second, while we are here on earth things will sometimes be hard, but God will use those hardships to work for our good according to his plan. We may not always see the big picture, but God does and in the end it will be an amazing work of art.
  • Third, because Jesus took our place on the cross, our true citizenship is in heaven and when this life comes to an end we will spend eternity with our loving, almighty God.

My grandfather's surgery was successful and he is recovering nicely, which is a wonderful blessing from God. I am glad to have more time with my grandfather for as long as God allows, but I also know that someday my grandpa will be called home which means that it is not truly the end.

All who have faith in their Savior are God's children and inherit eternal life in heaven. When we face the trials of life and the end of life we can all take comfort in knowing that God is in control of all things while we are here on earth, and when this life ends we as children of God will be granted eternal life with our Lord and Savior. This is an amazing reassurance for anyone who faces uncertainty in this life, and that is a wonderful blessing.

As this specific situation passes, I know that it certainly will not be the last time that I will face hardship and uncertainty. Each day brings new circumstances and challenges. I pray that God continues to remind me and each one of us that he is in control, even when things seem out of control, because there truly is no greater comfort.

Are you thriving? Got health?

When scientists study people who are thriving or experiencing a strong sense of well-being they learn that some of the factors those folks have in common is that they are grateful, content, have a strong sense of purpose, build healthy, authentic relationships and … they are healthy. But it’s more than just physical health, they are also mentally and spiritually healthy.

There is one culprit that can have a negative impact on physical, mental and spiritual health - stress.

What are the things that cause stress in your life? Chances are the things that are causing you stress are things or people that you feel you have a lack of control over.

Stress is often a perception of lack of control.

Some people do not find it stressful to jump out of perfectly good airplanes; others find that very stressful.
Some people intentionally swim with sharks; others would be terrified of the thought.
Some people are very stressed by technology; others love working with it.

A sense of control makes all the difference in how we perceive things.

What feels out of your control? Is it managing your time, your health, your wealth, another person?

There are some things we are not in control of and never will be. But we have a personal relationship with the one who is in control of all things.

“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions?...On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone – while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy? …Have you ever given orders to the morning or shown the dawn it’s place?...Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea or walked in the recesses of the deep? Have the gates of death been shown to you? Do you send the lightning bolts on their way? Do they report to you?”
— Selected verses from Job 38
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The God who created you controls everything. He is in charge - not us. We do not have to be in control. We do not need to be stressed.

Relax, take a deep breath; know that the world has a Savior…and it’s not you.

Rest in the peace of the One who controls everything and has promised He will provide and take care of your every need.