Dedication: Resurrection Rest

Some books are easy for me to know who to dedicate it to, and “Resurrection Rest” was one of those books. I knew that my grandpa, James Smith, would have to be the one I chose. His life is one that reflects the grace of God.

Grandpa didn’t have an easy childhood. He was born at the end of the depression, and his younger years were during World War II. His mother died suddenly when he was just 4 years old, and his father died after a long bout with lunch cancer when he was only 9. The youngest of seven children (and the only boy), one of his older sisters who was already married, took him in and cared for him.

But my grandpa had a wild streak and was often pulling pranks and getting into trouble. As he got older, the trouble got more serious and he found himself on the wrong side of the law a time or two.

It wasn’t until after he was married and had two girls of his own that he became a Christian. While he had his ups and downs, eventually he became a pastor, surprising everyone in his hometown. He was and is a testament to what the grace of God can do in a person’s life. No one would have imagined that little Jimmy, the trouble maker, would grow up to be a pastor, but then again I imagine that no one expected Saul, the persecutor of the Church, to become Paul, the missionary and apostle. God has amazing plans for lives, and can use people from all different kinds of backgrounds and histories.

Grandpa can still get teary when he talks about the grace that saved someone like him. He is well aware that he did nothing to deserve it, but God extended it to him anyway. A book that was written about God’s grace and Jesus’s resurrection that allowed us to enter into His grace had to be dedicated to the man who so richly experienced that in his own life, and spent his life preaching about it so that others could receive it as well.

Although he was my pastor for many years, he was always grandpa first. The man who would pick me up from school in the church bus and let me sit all the way in the back just because I wanted it. The man who would stop at the gas station so I could get a candy. When I was in high school, he would bring me a soda on occasion when he’d pick me up. One time when I needed my emissions done on my car, he showed up at my house and asked for the keys so that he could do it for me. Most recently, he has let me borrow his truck for months on end while I’ve been having issues with my van.

But Grandpa is also a man who still loves to pull a prank on occasion and teases the people that he loves. He teases the great-grandkids now, and laughs when they learn to tease him in return. His home is filled with laughter.

One of my favorite things is when Grandpa gets in a story-telling mood. I can sit and listen to him tell stories of his youth all night long. He had so many adventures and humorous things happen. The way he tells them makes us laugh every time.

It was my grandpa who talked to me after I became a Christian, and reminded me that even though we know the outcome of the spiritual war, the battle is not over, and that becoming a believer was only going to intensify¬† Satan’s attacks. He told me that I needed to grow in my faith, and remain firm. That was a big concept for a little girl, but I think it was exactly what I needed to hear, because it’s stuck with me all these years.

I love my Grandpa, and I’m so thankful for the influence he’s had in my life, for all he has taught me, for all the ways he shows me his love for his family, for his sense of humor, and the stories he tells. It was fitting that a book about God’s grace and His sacrifice for us should be dedicated to the one who cherishes that grace knowing how undeserved it was, and who marvels that it was given to him.

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