My grandfather, Asa Lee Jenkins, was laid to rest in the presence of his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on May 16, 2017. He passed away on May 13. He lived a good life. He grew up with loving parents, an education, experience with athletics. He married a beautiful and devoted woman, had healthy children and grandchildren and enjoyed a deep and meaningful spiritual life. It was not a life void of conflict, mistakes and misery. But if anything, he learned to lean on Someone that could actually lead him to the correct outcome. Jesus. It was recalled how he came to believe in this man Jesus when he was a young boy in church. The sermon was about God’s unconditional love and care for us. The scripture that was attached to the message was from Matthew 10: 29-31. It reads “Aren’t two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s consent. But even the hairs of your head have all been counted. So don’t be afraid therefore; you are worth more than many sparrows.” As my grandfather headed home, he wondered aloud if God was real to provide a grand sign. He then had a sparrow fall from the sky and land on the earth right behind him. True story. Thus began his love affair with Jesus.
He loved this Jesus, but, like my dad Larry, he loved his cocktails and raising a little hell too. His funeral was filled with memories, photos, stories, weeping and laughter. It was also filled with hope. Hope from a familiar chapter in the book of Psalm. My dad told the preacher a story of when he sought his dads counsel during a difficult chapter in his life. My grandfather reminded my dad of David’s struggles and his cry to God in penning the 51st Psalm. David was no perfect man but he was described as a man after God’s heart. It is felt in this scripture. Read it. If you know it by heart, read it again. It is filled with David bearing his soul to God and stripping himself of any ego and worry asking for cleansing and grace. David knew he could come to the Lord at his most desolate and vulnerable time and ask for forgiveness and guidance. When he was at the point of willing submission God provided His plan to David. My grandfather was telling my dad to submit his woes to God and banish his anxieties through trust in God. My dad sought this scripture with ardent prayer. I believe this encounter with my grandfather lead my dad to my mom which lead to me being his daughter. You see, this dad is technically my step-dad. And without my dad leaning on God to show him the path of righteousness, he might not have ever been reunited with my mom. We needed my dad at a time we were experiencing difficulty too.
When I realized this connection and how my grandfather’s faith in God saved my dad from a possible path of destruction, it set heavy on my heart. I may never have had the most influential man in my life if it weren’t for my grandfather coming to his knees for answers. How deep down that faith has traveled in my family as my daughter has also been influenced by this genuine faith. What a gift. Do I actually need anything else? I would volunteer to be broken and hurting to be able to consume and project that faith. Just like Paul stated in Philippians 1:21 “For to me, to live is Christ and to die gain.” As long as we are taking a breath, Christ has a purpose for us. Faith is what gets us in and out of our days. I am in a hurry to meet Him face to face but I also know that everyday He calls me to be His servant. I will now wake up daily and ask, “Jesus, what would you have me do for you today?” I might also ask Him to relieve me of my burdens too, which He will do with gladness. No matter how trivial those burdens may seem.
In sum, I thank God for the moment He chose to reveal to my grandfather that Christ was real and alive. The moment that sparrow fell at his feet alerting him the presence, promise and reality of God. The small natural miracles that Jesus exhibits-don’t overlook them. Use them to bring this faith to others. I’ll miss you A.L. but I know we will be dancing on the streets of gold in Heaven with our faithful and loving Father one day soon.