From Financial Ruin to The Cross
Lying there in a musty old black trunk the faded news clipping grabbed my attention. The year on the paper was 1927 and the story was heartbreaking. A farming comminuty in Iowa was shocked when a well to do citizen was reported to have ended his own life. His only child, at the age of 14, had been the one to discover the loss of his father.
The apparent cause?
Though the stock market crash of 1929 was yet to come, times were tough in Iowa. This man had to close the communities bank and other businesses he owned. All he had worked and hoped for was suddenly gone. His answer was to end life in despair.
It was 72 years later as I read this article. Tears rushed to my eyes thinking of that 14 year old boy. The days ahead in his life I could now understand more fully. That 14 year old was my Great-Grandpa. It was just days after Christmas, a new year had begun in 1999. My Grandpa had just died after a battle with bone cancer and it was time to begin cleaning out his home. Kneeling there in front of that trunk my mind went back over my Grandpa's life and the things I had never understood about him.
I knew my Grandpa had gone through the Great Depression with his mother, being very poor though she tried to make ends meet. As I grew up I knew Grandpa valued money and held tightly to it. It was very important to him. He wanted to hold on to it and not let it go. I had never in my life known a man who could scrimp and save like Grandpa. This was a man who would duck tape his shoes together when they started unraveling! The list of things Grandpa would do to save money seemed endless. This attitude came with a price in his life. That being a huge portion of his life, to hoard his money, gave him no peace or joy, simply constant worry.
After Grandpa's cancer was so advanced he could not live alone, he came to live with our family. As we took care of him I had the chance to have many conversations with him. He shared stories of his life, music he had loved, songs he had sung. Some of these conversations turned to God and the meaning of life. Grandpa had faithfully attended church for years, he knew the message of putting your trust in Jesus Christ. Still Grandpa was convinced his security was the money in his bank. He really seemed sure in someway he could take it to heaven with him.
The days turned to the winter season and it was clear Grandpa's time here on earth was coming to an end. The conversations gew in length and seriousness. One day Mark 8:39 came up, "For what shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" Reality came to Grandpa as we talked that Christmas season. This was it. The life he had lived and the purpose of his life was coming to and end. His money could not buy the only thing he could take with him, eternal life. It was a free gift, given in love, from the Son of God who paid the price with His own life. Then Grandpa found peace in the priceless gift of Christ. He was set free from clinging to the things of this world.
May Christ also bless you with the knowledge of His Redeeming love this Christmas season.
~This was written by my sister Jennifer.~
Labels: An Encouraging Word