I’ve been thinking about death a lot lately. Yes, cheery I know, but stick with me. These thoughts haven’t been directed much toward my own death, but rather lives that from an earthly perspective have been taken too soon. This last year as several people close to me have struggled with losing someone dear to them, I am reminded God’s timeline doesn’t always look like our own.
Recently, I sat scrolling social media during a work break, I learned that someone I knew was killed in a tragic accident. He wasn’t someone particularly close to me, but it shook me because it was someone who at one point in my life, I had been around quite a bit. He was one of the good guys. As my heart broke for his family, his wife, and kids who would now grow up without a dad.
He persevered until he took his last breath, living a life that would glorify Christ.
Every article that I’ve read about this tragic loss clearly states how much he loved the Lord and his family. I know his kids will grow up hearing stories about how much their earthly father loved them and how much he wanted them to know the love of our Heavenly Father.
Reflecting on this story of tragic loss has brought back memories of people that have impacted my life and showed me what perseverance in faith looks like, all the way to their final breaths. These people put faces to living out the words found in 1 Peter 5:10. “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”
The first person who comes to mind is my dad’s mom Grammy. I was only eleven years old when my Grammy passed away, but I have fond memories of being loved “to pieces” by her. She taught me to like crafts, zucchini, and peach yogurt, as well as how to shuffle (and bridge) a mean deck of cards. Most importantly though, she taught me about the love of Jesus and how much joy comes from knowing Him. There’s not a morning that I remember waking up at her house and not finding her with her Bible open in her lap. She could also often be found playing her organ and belting out hymns. Grammy battled a long, grueling fight against cancer, but she never stopped loving Jesus or believing that God would heal her. He ultimately did, just not on this earth.
Fast forward several years to my senior year in high school. One of my best friends was diagnosed with cancer and not given long to live. I was at a point in my life where I wasn’t doubting the existence of God or His sovereignty, but I was asking “Why?” about many areas of my life. These questions didn’t cease when Cassie was diagnosed or as I watched her battle agonymore than I can comprehend. Her faith was strong though. I watched her suffer, but she didn’t complain. She trusted that God had a plan and worried more about those of us she was leaving behind than about dying herself. She knew what was in store and was excited to spend eternity with her Savior. Cassie was a runner before she was sick and clung tight to the words in 2 Timothy 4:7. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
Cassie’s life and persevering faith led me to truly seek God and live as if I believed the words He said were true. For the first time in my life, I took my faith seriously and desired to glorify God in all that I do. That path led me to Ecola Bible School after high school. In Bible school, I met many people who lived their lives to glorify God. One of these people was Jordan. A couple of years later, Jordan died in a motorcycle accident. As I sat in his service and reminisced with friends about his life, there was no doubt that he shared Jesus with everyone he encountered. He lived a life of perseverance in the faith until his final days.
My Grandpa Lou was another man whose life exemplified one truly changed by God’s sacrifice and grace. Shortly before I was born, he gave his life to Christ, and from what I hear, he was a completely different man than my mom grew up with. As long as I can remember, Grandpa Lou was involved in churches and wanted all of us to know how loved we were (even if his love came in traumatizing forms such as teaching us to make sausage in honor of our Polish heritage). One thing that my Grandpa always encouraged me to do was to attend a YWAM program and meet a godly man to marry. I never did this, but even at his funeral, it came up and there was no question that he loved Jesus and wanted his grandchildren to understand this love.
All of these people and several more have been examples to me of what a life looks like that perseveres in the faith. Each of these sad moments of losing someone close has also led me closer to my Savior, whom they are worshiping with for all eternity. I am so thankful for each one of them in my life and the example and motivation to persevere in the faith, to persevere until my final breath, and to persevere so that others can hopefully say the same about me–She loved Jesus deeply, passionately, and will forevermore.
Karly Grant is a 30-something, single, enneagram 9, follower of Jesus who likes to keep life entertaining and real. The circumstances of the last few years of her life have held many twists and turns, but she can’t wait to see where God leads. She has a heart for adoption and is waiting to see where the Lord guides her on this path. She can often be found in a coffee shop, curled up with a good book, or spending quality time laughing and having fun with her family and friends.