Recently, I traveled from home to be with my daughter and three young grandchildren who were grieving the loss of their grandmother. As expected at their age, our time together was filled with a mixed bag of emotions. One minute the kids would be playing and laughing, and the next they’d be climbing onto a lap for another round of cuddling and kisses.
Occasionally, one child would quietly ask another question about Grandma and why she had died. It was obvious their young minds were trying to understand the implications of her death and their loss. One evening we all dined at a local restaurant. Menus were colored, dinner was ordered, and the food was delivered to our table.
As we joined hands to give thanks for our meal, my nine year old granddaughter asked if she could say the prayer, so we bowed our heads to pray in silence with her. Her prayer this evening was profound in simplicity and sincerity: “Thank You, God, for my family. Thank You for letting my Mommy come home and be with us. Thank You for our time together. Thank You for this beautiful day.” Then she paused and added, “Thank You, God, for letting Grandma go to heaven.”
Tears sprung to my eyes, and joy filled my heart as I realized she was thanking God for the most important gift of all. The promise of Heaven: a life beyond death. And in a blink, her prayer ended. My daughter and I locked eyes across the table, both realizing the wisdom of her words. Then, that sweet darling girl raised her glass and said, “Let’s make a toast to Grandma!”
So we all raised our glasses together in celebration of their grandmother’s life, clinking glasses with shouts of “To Grandma!” But in my heart at that moment, I was celebrating the faith of a child and the promise of our Father who reserves a place in Heaven for all of His children.
“‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.’ And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.”
– Mark 10:14-16 (NIV)
“Heavenly Father, thank You for my children and grandchildren and the wisdom I gain from their childlike faith in You. I pray they will always seek You and claim the wonderful blessings You have in store for each of them. Lord, I pray for parents and grandparents everywhere, that they will be an instrument in sharing Your good news in their families, neighborhoods and communities. Right now I pray especially for…”