When we went to Indiana a few weeks ago, after the passing away of my husband's father, I spent some time looking through old pictures and this one was my favorite. I see a little bit of Graeme in this one, mostly in those rolls in the legs, wink wink! Seriously though, something about that big grin reminds me of my sweet boy. This picture kind of grabbed my heart. It made me think about the fact that life is so short. It made me think about the fact that the little boy in this picture was loved by his own mama and dada. He loved playing with cars and trucks and especially enjoyed the game of "fill-up station", said Steve's grandpa, where he pretended to fill up the cars with gasoline. And then he grew up and had a family of his own. Anyone that knows my husband well knows that his relationship to his dad was not picture-perfect. I remember being so hurt for Steve as I would hear him tell his dad that he loved him at the end of phone conversations and not hearing an "I love you" in return.
But that is not the end of the story. When God, in His Sovereignty, allowed cancer to enter the picture, He also allowed a change of heart in Rodney. And I am so grateful that my husband heard his father say, many, many times, that he loved him.
Going to Indiana for the funeral brought a lot of questions to our minds. What would the funeral be like? Who would be speaking at the services? What would they say? Would they glory in the gospel and the person of Jesus Christ? Or would they speak about fanciful thoughts about heaven and toss in a few accolades for good measure?
When we learned that Steve's uncle, Sam Harbin, would be doing the grave-side, we were joyfully anxious to hear his words. We knew what to expect: gospel truth. Because of a noisy little boy, I unfortunately missed most of the grave-side service, but as I walked away with a chatter-box in my arms, I heard Uncle Sam bringing home the truth of the one and only glory and joy of Heaven for the believer: Jesus.
Earlier that day, a man that had been Rodney's pastor for a short time and a friend for many years spoke about Rodney's life. His message was simple and clear. We were not gathered to try and lift a man up on a pedestal. His words were so honest and open you could have heard a pin drop: Rodney was not an exemplary father or husband and he struggled in his relationship to Christ, but he had a great Savior.
I wanted to jump out of my seat and I know Steve did too-- yes! a great Savior--a great, great Savior!