It is so easy to take family for granted. They’re there. All the time. Or so we think, until they aren’t. But all of us will one day die. Only God knows when that will be, and His timing is truly perfect. But as I’ve watched my grandmother age, particularly over the last couple of years, I know with keen sadness, and yet with eagerness for her, that her time is coming soon when the LORD will take her home. She is almost 95 years old, and a couple of strokes have wrecked havoc on her once-sharp mind, leaving her often confused and uncertain, sometimes not knowing who we are. But God in His mercy has given her peace. We were singing hymns tonight as a family, something we used to enjoy more frequently when we all lived in the same house or were all home more in the evenings, but this was done specifically for Grandma, since she has been requesting it lately. I wasn’t particularly eager to sing and play the piano tonight. I was tired, and had a lot to do getting ready for another marathon week. We sang some old favorites, each requesting those which we remembered first or found first as we flipped pages in our hymnals.
“Oh, Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder, consider all the worlds Thy hands have made, I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder, Thy power throughout the universe displayed…” we sang together. One of my favorite hymns. Oh, heavens, one of my favorite hymns. Dad’s warm baritone blended in imperfect sweetness with Sarah’s and Mom’s harmonies. I always love hearing our little family chorus.
Then I glanced up from my place at the piano. There was Grandma, her frail body and grey head bent over the hymnal, holding it firmly in her twisted, weak hands. Her lips, which often betray the confusion in her mind or tremble in the infirmity of age, were perfectly shaping the words of this wonderful hymn. I couldn’t hear her, since she was across the room from me, but I know she was singing. My eyes filled and I could hardly choke out the next words:
And lead me home, what joy shall fill my heart
Then I shall bow with humble adoration
And then proclaim, my God, how great Thou art.
How great Thou art, how great Thou art.