My Grampa Prayed For Me
I’ll never forget that uncomfortable moment that happened when I was 13 years old while brushing my teeth in the upstairs hallway bathroom. Standing in the doorway, with one hand on his hip to support himself, stood my grandfather. He’d followed me after I’d had angry words with my parents and bolted to bed.
“Janice,” he said, remaining in the doorway. “No matter what problem you are having, Jesus is greater.” His voice broke with emotion. “Jesus is bigger than any problem you will ever face.”
Glancing over my shoulder at my grandpa, I noticed his lips quivering and tears pooling in his eyes. His hand on the doorframe trembled due to his Parkinson’s. Though he continued on, I feigned a lack of interest in Grandpa’s words. I only brushed my teeth more fiercely, wishing hard that this moment would pass.
When he stopped, I mumbled about how I had to get to bed because of school the next day. And then, looking sideways to see that he was still standing there, I turned away to wipe my face on the towel. I hoped that he would leave me alone – and, he did slowly make his way back down the stairs. The stairs were difficult for him.
I didn’t like it when Grandpa started crying and talking about Jesus. It made me feel awkward. He quivered while he explained that he was a sinner whom God had forgiven.
Two times stick in my mind that Grandpa said he’d especially felt God’s presence in his life. First, he said, was the time that he’d asked my grandma to marry him.
“What was the second time?” I’d wondered.
“The night that I was robbed and held at gunpoint,” Grandpa had said.
“What happened?” I wanted to know, finding these words astonishing. I remembered that Grandpa worked as a Watkins salesman and went door-to-door selling vanilla extract and barbecue sauce. Mostly, it seemed to me, he enjoyed visiting with his customers and sharing his stories.
“It was dark and I was finishing up my deliveries. Just as I was getting back into my car, two tall men approached me from the sidewalk. One of them carried a gun and prodded it into my back.”
“Were you scared?” I asked, thinking of how very dreadful that would be.
“Well, yes – but I felt God’s strong presence all around me,” Grandpa shared.
“But, what did you do?” I wanted to know.
“They told me to give them all my money,” he said.
“Did you give it to them?” I asked. “Weren’t you angry at them for what they were doing?”
“I handed it over to them right away. It wasn’t all that much. But I knew that God was with me because I felt an overwhelming sense of love for them that could not have been my own, and I prayed for them, that they could meet God, who had forgiven me for my sins,” Grandpa finished.
It’s been many years since I’ve had the privilege of listening to one of Grandpa’s stories. I know that he prayed for me often. One night, the memory of what Grandpa had shared with me rolled back like a YouTube video posted on Facebook. It happened while I lay on the bed beside my daughter as we talked before bedtime.
“Mom, what was it like for you when dad left?” she asked, “Weren’t you angry?”
“Well, yes.” I answered. It had been a dreadful moment when I learned of my husband’s unfaithfulness and then had been left with three small children to raise. “Yes, but I felt a strong sense of God’s presence. And I knew that it was God – because I felt a love for your dad that could not have been my own – and I prayed for him – I prayed that he, too, would know again the God who has forgiven me my sins, and offers forgiveness for his.”
Because Jesus is greater.