My grandfather Colin was a great man—he was talented, faithful, and funny. When he lost his battle with cancer in August, my family and I felt his loss in a huge way. Although I was sad about his death, I also felt a peace with God as I knew where he was going. When our loved ones leave our world, often we can find ourselves grieving their last moments or reliving how they died, but for my Pa, I want to reflect on how he lived and what his life has taught me.
One of my earliest memories of my Pa was when I would have a sleepover at his house in Sydney with my little cousin Riley. The spare rooms were straight down the hall from my grandparents’ bedroom and when we woke up way too early, like most little kids do for a Saturday morning, we would both run down to their bedroom as soon as we could. We would find my Pa there with Nan reading the Bible in bed. He would smile at us as we jumped up and sat between them both and joined them as they continued reading a scripture or devotional. After my Nan finished reading it out loud, they would talk with each other and us about what it meant and then we would all pray together before getting up to make breakfast.
This taught me a lot. My Pa and Nan did this every morning together and it was one of the biggest things I admired about them. My Pa knew how important it was to have devotion to God and to read His Word every morning, he also knew that it was a good thing to share this time with God with his wife. They were a team in all parts of life and an inspiration for what I might have one day with my own husband.
Another lesson I learned from this was the power of prayer, when his grandchildren were around he always took the opportunity to include us in his time with God and teach us about His love for us, he would pray with us and for each and every one of his children and grandchildren by name every morning—he was a man of devotion to God and to his family.
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” (Ephesians chapter 6 verse 18)
My family is something you can’t survive in without a sense of humour, and you can see clearly where we all get it from. This was something I learned from both of my grandfathers. They knew how to have fun with life.
My Pa, even when he was young, was always getting into trouble for getting into antics. I grew up listening to stories about how when my mum and her siblings were little, he would hide in a different spot every night in their hallway and jump out and scare them before they went off to bed. While they complain about how scared they were to go to bed, or to the bathroom (which was also down the hallway and an opportunity for my Pa to hide from them to scare them)—when my mum tells the story you can see the joy in her eyes of recalling his fun loving behaviour.
Pa was a serious man of God, but he was also a fun grandfather that would slide down driveways on cardboard like a surfboard and teach you how to do it too. He knew there was a time to be serious, to be devoted and loving but there is always a time to have fun and be a little cheeky… those times were just as important as the rest.
The last thing my Pa left all of his children and family was his message that God is good, that He is the truth, and how much God had changed his life and made him the man he was. Pa had some strong passions in his life which included painting, fishing, and eating good food! His biggest passion was sharing God with everyone he could, even if they sometimes didn’t want to hear it.
‘He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.’ (Mark chapter 16 verse 15).
He knew, without a doubt and with an incredible strong faith, that God is real. He wanted everyone he knew to also grab hold and know his conviction on having a personal relationship with our Creator. I used to get embarrassed when he would begin witnessing to some unsuspecting person about how they need to meet Jesus. Now that he is gone, I just pray that I can inherit his legacy of a bold and courageous faith and a heart full for others and for his family. The day before he died, he turned to one of his closest friends in his hospital bed and whispered, “just one more, just one more for Christ.”
“For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious. Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech” (2 Corinthians chapter 3 verses 11 – 12)
Elise Williams lives on the Sunshine Coast with her family. She has a Diploma of Business and is currently studying a Diploma of Library and Information Services. She is passionate about God and has quite the creative streak. She has a heart for others and strives to encourage others to know God’s love and to understand how beautiful and valued they are in God’s eyes.