Spiritual grandparenting at its best
The calamity of Ephraim’s children, as detailed in Psalm 78,…
William “Will” Eugene Kooi III — a missionary in Vienna, Austria, with his wife, Holly, and my great friend — lived out this passage this summer. In early August his second child, Lucy, was born. A month later, his grandfather, William Eugene Kooi Sr., was called home.
Weeks earlier, in a Montana town called Pray, longtime preacher and church planter Clinton Brazle spent a week with his children at Yellowstone Bible Camp, which he helped found, before he went to meet his God.
He actively encouraged Christians to plant churches. All of his sons and one daughter attended Oklahoma Christian University, where I saw their faith and their energy. His sons preach and serve as missionaries around the world.
As I remember these precious lives, I realize — none too happily — that I also am in the final stage.
God has blessed me with good health and has restored joy to my life through my experience with the Donau Gemeinde Christi (Church of Christ) in Vienna.
Bailey and Joyce McBrideI am thankful God has blessed me with a wonderful life — nearly 60 years with a woman whose devotion to God marked every day of her adult life; three wonderful children and the ones they have married, who have worked endlessly to make my life easier in this stage; my 12 grandchildren (four by marriage) who honor God and continue a family legacy. This December my fourth great-grandchild will further enrich my life.
God taught me many lessons. In my youth, he helped me understand that a lifetime relationship with a woman does not come easily. Through my children, he taught me that the human heart is big enough to love unconditionally all whom he brings into a life.
In my elderly stage of life, God teaches me that a terrible loss is not a reason to give up. He opens doors so that I have a chance to keep learning his Word, his love, and his vision for meaning and purpose. He helps me know the importance of taking care of the body he has given me.
God does not, I think, understand retirement. He does not think we ever earn the right to live in a recliner in a mindless state.
God asks us to take stock of our gifts and talents. Are you an expert cook? Share your skills with others. Are you friendly? Help others deal with their fears and encourage them to see their strengths. Are you a good listener? Find people who have burdens they need to share.
If you think your faith is not as strong as it should be, set aside time to study your Bible each day. If you spend an hour each day watching news, it is possible for you to spend an hour each day listening to the voice of God.
As you strengthen and enrich your life at this stage, prayer should be as fundamental as any daily routine. For the last dozen years, I have worked to pray more effectively. I keep in my hip pocket a list of people I am concerned about. Praying for my children and grandchildren helps me to stay closer to them. I pray for my elders and all those who minister for my congregation.
‘I am thankful God has blessed me with a wonderful life.’
The sick and bereaved need our prayers. I often use my prayer time to think about all the qualities of God that deserve honor and praise. I sometimes write down those prayers, just to be sure I am not using empty language.
“There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven.”
Thank God we have time.
That time will be worth whatever we make of it. I am asking God to help me and you make this his time — for whatever he needs us to do.
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