being good isn’t always easy no matter how hard i try
i grew up the grandson of a preacher. he was not only the pastor of a church, but he was the pastor of the church with the biggest day care in town. everyone i met in my town either knew my grandpa personally, knew of him, or knew someone who knew him. everyone knew me as his grandson. my friends who never went to church period, much less my grandpa’s church, would tell me that they saw my grandpa at this restaurant or that store and that he said hey to them or something along those lines.
on saturday mornings when i was a kid, my family would meet with my cousins, aunt, uncle, and my grandparents for breakfast at 10am. while we all had fun doing this, i always remember that my grandpa knew everybody. people came up to him to talk and he treated everyone like they were the most important person in the world.
he would say hey to anyone he ever met.
he would cheer up anyone he was ever around.
and he would pray for anyone who ever asked.
he always told me he was praying for me. every time that i saw him, whether it was at church on sunday, in town during the week, or stopping by his house just to say hey, he always told me he was praying for me.
and i knew that he was.
i could feel it.
if there was one person who i thought had a direct line to god, it was my grandpa. it was always like god spoke to him directly. i knew of god, and i knew god, but i wouldn’t be surprised if my grandpa and god hung out and played playstation on the weekends of something.
on my birthday last year, two days after my grandpa had a massive stroke, i stepped into his hospital room and held his hand. he couldn’t talk and had his eyes closed, but he was awake. i told him that i didn’t want to make him use any energy but that i wanted him to know i was there and i wanted to pray for him.
so i prayed for him.
during that prayer, i felt him praying along with me. it was a really cool feeling. it was like i was brought in on a three-way-call with god and had that direct line for the first time. over the next few months, as he started getting better, i would come home and go see him and let him know what was going on with me. i’d always update him on what church i was talking to and what options i had. i told him i was praying about them and that i knew he was praying about them too. whenever i would say that he would nod to let me know that he was praying for me.
and i knew that he was.
i could feel it.
a couple of days ago i went over to see him. being home for a month, i’ve tried to take advantage to being ten minutes away from him and see him as much as possible. on that particular day, his stomach wasn’t feeling that well. my mom was back there with me because she can read his lips much better than i can. after he told her that his stomach hurt, he asked mom if i could pray for him.
my spiritual superman was asking me to pray for him.
so i held his hand and prayed for him. not too long after that i told him i’d let him rest and that i’d come back and see him the next day. i left and went home and didn’t think too much about him wanting me to pray for him other than thinking it was “cool” that the man that i looked up to in all things jesus wanted me to pray for him.
i was out with the girlfriend yesterday and saw my mom at his house so i decided to stop in to see him. i went to his room with my mom and said hey to him. after asking him how he felt and him mouthing “pretty good” he started talking somewhat fast. while he’s getting better and recovering, his voice hasn’t fully come back yet so it was mainly him mouthing the words. i couldn’t understand what he was saying. mom was doing her best to “translate” what he was saying.
you want jonathan to pray for you again?
what do you want him to pray for?
do you not feel good?
oh, you want to thank jonathan for praying for you yesterday?
whoa whoa whoa. what?
the guy with a direct line to god is thanking me for praying for him?
i don’t know if you’ve ever had someone that you completely look up to thank you or appreciate you for something like that. maybe it’s your mom who always took care of you when you were sick thanking you for bringing her soup when she’s sick. or maybe the coach who has morphed into a mentor tells you that he’s proud of you. or maybe it’s just your dad coming up and putting his arm around you and telling you good job.
whatever it is, you know that feeling that is unexplainable that i felt yesterday. i don’t know how to describe it, but it was a combination of pride and accomplishment. it was a feeling that i should be the one thanking him, not him thanking me. it was a feeling that just felt good.
and it was a feeling that i’ll never forget.
i know that every christian has that “direct line” to god. i know that my prayers are heard just like yours are and just like my grandpa’s are. i know that god looks at us all the same and that we’re all equal in his eyes.
but yesterday, when he thanked me for praying for him, i felt like that was god telling me, “hey, that direct line that your grandpa has? i’m giving it to you too. use it whenever you want. i’ll be on the other end.”
i’ve sat here trying to figure out a good way to close this post. i try to be clever or funny or whatever at the end of a post but with this one i can only thing of one thing:
the way god shows up and shows us things in ways we can never imagine is amazing. sometimes we get frustrated, and sometimes things start to bother us, but when god shows up to pull us out of those frustrations, he shows up in ways that we can never forget.
and i know that i’ll never forget yesterday.
say your prayers and take your vitamins.
have a nice day.