“For he will not much remember the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart.” - Ecclesiastes 5:20
My Father-in-Law was born just a few months before his own Father died. His young widowed Mother had a tiny, rustic, uninsulated house in the woods of Northern Wisconsin, three very young boys, three cows, no electricity and no indoor plumbing. The boys all slept in one bed in the unfinished attic. They could see the stars at night through the gaps in the shingles. In the mornings their quilt was covered with a layer of snow.
After several years, their Mom remarried. Their Step-Dad was a good man. He moved his new family into a house in the nearby town (population: 100) and the boys grew up there, together with their younger sisters who were born in the following years. They were a loving family. They went to Sunday School with the Baptists, Vacation Bible School at the Covenant Church, and joined the Lutheran church. He learned at a young age to trust in God and His Word.
He joined the Navy during World War II and served in the South Pacific. After the War he came home and worked hard, as he had always done. He bought a School bus - and eventually married one of the High School girls on his route. He kept driving that bus even as he worked other jobs and eventually ran other businesses of his own. The other day he told me, “There was never such a thing as an eight-hour work day!”
From the bare facts, it sounds like a hard life but there is no sense of hardship in his memories. The kids on his bus remember singing along with him as they rode to school or to basketball games in other towns.
What a gift I got when I married one of his daughters! Now in his middle nineties, he still bursts into song at the least provocation. His short-term memory is pretty much gone, so conversations tend to be repetitive but his heart overflows with joy and kindness, as it always has. I love getting to spend a day with him!
A life lived in joyous Christian faith, full of gratitude to God for His goodness, trusting in His grace, makes for joyful memories not only for ourselves but for our children and grandchildren, too. I want most of all to pass that legacy on to my own grandchildren.
Lord, thank You for bringing saints into my life, whose lives demonstrate of the truth of Your Word. Give me a heart so full of Your promises that faith, hope and joy flood my life as I trust in You. Thank You for the forgiveness that covers all my shortcomings for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
Pastor Dan Giles