Until Next Time

by Union for Christ

“I have decided to follow Jesus. No turning back, no turning back.”

I had the amazing opportunity this summer to volunteer for Union doing something called “U-Crew”, a team of students (two this past summer) who travel with Buell Fogg around the Mid- America Union preaching and leading worship at the union’s campmeetings and youth camps. Words cannot describe the blessings that God poured out around and within the team this past summer. Words also cannot describe the incredible blessing I gained watching the youth here within the union because of the fire that they have for Christ. These youth are ready. They are ready for so much more than the world has given them. They are ready for a deeper and more intimate relationship with Jesus. They are ready to spread the Gospel everywhere they go.  This summer was filled with life changing stories about how God worked through me, Tori Eldenburg, and Buell Fogg. And those stories are definitely to come. . .

But today’s post is more so about the main struggle of the summer. The struggle that lasted the duration of the seven weeks. The struggle that satan brought into my families life to bring us down. . .

This past summer, my grandfather died at the age of 96.

Due to a numerous amount of circumstances, my family, but more importantly, my father was unable to travel down to Mexico where my grandfather resided to see him for one last time. There is nothing I could type down on this post that could come close to the emotions that pop into my chest trying to capture the emotions my dad had during this entire situation. I cannot put my head around not being able to be with my dad during the last few years, months, days, and hours of his life. I cannot imagine not being able to hold him tight in my arms showing him the never ending love I have for him. I cannot imagine not being there at his beside to say goodbye for one last time. This is what my dad was dealing with for a few years now, but specifically, this past summer as my grandpa was fading.

See, the biggest problem with this whole thing was that my dad knew that my grandfather hadn’t accepted Jesus completely. My dad knew that my grandfather had been on the fence about God and Christianity for the last 96 years of his life. My dad knew this could possibly be the very last opportunity he would EVER see my grandpa again. The hope that we carry as Christians was not applying in this situation. My dad was distraught. He was completely broken down begging God to intervene somehow, someway. If my grandpa wasn’t going to accept Jesus, all my dad wanted was to have the opportunity to go say his goodbye’s, to see his father one last time.

Traveling all summer, I wasn’t able to be there for my dad. I wasnt able to comfort him in his time of need. I felt like an awful son. I felt extremely selfish. This past summer I argued with God plenty of times trying to come to an agreement with Him. I thought that after 96 years my grandfather wasn’t going to turn around. So i prayed endlessly trying to convince God to give my dad that final opportunity to see him. I wanted my dad to have that undeniable right. I wanted my plan to be the right plan. But what I came to realize was that my plan was only a temporary solution to an eternal problem. . .God’s plan was so much greater than what my family and I could have imagined. God’s plan for the entire situation was far more advanced and perfected then the one we wanted to have happen. Our plan limited God and the power he possesses to change lives through His love and kindness.

Unbeknownst to my family and I, my grandpa was receiving Bible studies on his death bed from my dad’s sister. For two months my grandpa had been asking my aunt to give him bible studies because he wanted to accept Jesus. He came to the realization that the last 96 years were missing something, and he finally knew what it was; better yet, who HE was. 2 weeks before his death, my grandpa finally accepted Jesus completely. He decided to finally follow him. My grandpa decided to finally get baptized into the church, but more importantly, into  Jesus. 

It is now clear to me why my grandpa lived for 96 years. It is also clear to me why God allowed our family not to be able to see him before his passing. God’s plan for my grandpa was far bigger than country boarders or distances. God’s plan included Salvation after 96 years. God knocked on his door every day for 96 years, waiting and longing for his son to finally let him in. God knew that His own love could change the heart of a man that for so long neglected him. God knew that my family would definitely be seeing him again. God knew that the moment my grandpa accepted Him into his life, He needed to secure it, He wanted to secure my grandfather’s salvation. He chose Jesus and its for certain that there is no turning back for him.

So grandpa, although i did not get a chance to say goodbye, one thing i know for certain; I WILL be saying hello again very soon. Until next time grandpa.