It's been a hard past few days. My sweet Grandfather Stone is in his last days. And it hasn't been an easy road for him or any of us. Having watching the suffering of my grandmother just a few years ago, it feels confusing that both of them should face such end-of-life trial after a lifetime of humble service to Him.
Yet. God is still good. God is still faithful.
After receiving call from my mother that he had been given a 12-24 hour window by Hospice, I traveled down Monday evening. I am so very glad I went. The following is an email I sent to a friend:
I was not expecting my grandfather to recognize me and the 1st day and a half he didn't. But Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning he was unaccountably alert, completely recognized me and I could tell understood what I was saying to him. I told him I loved him, read scripture and when I asked if he wanted me to pray with him he nodded his head. Before I left yesterday, I heard him say to me, "love you" and then "bye, hon." It's what he always, always said to me.
Here's something equally amazing. The reason hospice gave a 12-24 hr. alert was because of some mottling of skin on his feet. This, apparently, is a definitive sign that the end is near. At almost 24 hours, exactly, he begins to become more alert and a few more hours later, the mottling is gone. Hospice, the nurse, and the caregivers have never heard of this happening. My Dad arrived home from a 20-hour car trip from Arizona that evening and my brother gets in today.
When I was talking to my husband on the phone he was telling me that at lunchtime, Jane, our six year-old, was praying for "Great-Father" (as the kids call him) and asked God that he would let him live just a little longer. The timeline of her prayer and my grandfather's inexplicable rally coincide. The prayers of a six-year old -- arrows straight to the Lord.
I said my goodbyes to my grandfather and I am at peace with that. It is the Lord's timing when he takes this sweet man home, but it is very soon. I am both joyful and heartbroken. You know how these things go.
Grandad has run his race, as Hebrews says, and run it well. Is there more for him to learn? More room for his faith to be refined? Is that why his time here continues? No. I don't think that's it. This trial God is allowing him to endure is teaching all of us and refining our faith. Grandad's faithfulness is allowing him to be used for the Lord's purposes up until the very last minute when the Lord calls him home. Just like Grandma. What a legacy.
And this is how God is good.
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith ..."