“Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”
Psalm 103:1-5 (nkjv)
Ten years ago, a kind-hearted man with a deep Southern accent joined our family when he married my Grandmother. Since the first time I met ‘Papa Vern’ Whittaker, he loved talking about the Lord and his love for Grandmom. He would most always have a smile on his face and his U.S. Army cap on his head. These few words can hardly do justice to the testimony of a man who loved God whole-heartedly.
Papa Vern went on to join Jesus in Paradise this past weekend, after a long week of being in the hospital and then hospice care. This week has been filled with a mixture of tears and laughter for me.
I am sad because we will miss him; that he won’t be around for our family get-togethers anymore. I am really sad that he will not be at my wedding in February. I’m sad that the time he spent in my life went by too fast.
In spite of all this, the happy memories and all the things I am thankful for outweigh the sorrows a million to one.
I’m thankful for the many, many times I saw him make my grandmother so happy. I’m thankful for the time I got to spend with them tagging along on a cruise to Alaska in 2012. I’m thankful for the way he loved each person in our family just as they were, and prayed faithfully for every one. I’m thankful for the laughter we all shared in the hospital at different times this week – with his singing and telling stories. I’m thankful that he is no longer in pain or suffering from the cancer.
He told me in the hospital last week how proud he was to call me his granddaughter. There are no other words that could have filled my heart as much as those did.
God is good. All the time. God is good.