This week we buried my Grandpa. His name was Bob Adams. This post is dedicated to him so bear with me as I talk a little about my Grandpa Bob. He was a big man. For a man who didn’t like to celebrate the traditions of Christmas, he always made me think a little of Santa Clause. He had a big belly, and he was so jolly. He loved to laugh. He was so friendly, and as child whenever I would stay with he and my Grandma Mary – I was quite sure that he somehow always knew what I was doing and had a healthy fear of falling out of his favor! He was missing the white hair…or any hair for that matter because he was slick bald on top. He liked us rubbing the top of his head, but mostly a large cowboy hat always sat perched there.
My Grandpa died at 83 years old and the church was full of family and old friends who have known him for years and have been influenced by his life. He had many preacher friends supporting him – in his ministry and on the day of his funeral. The platform was full of men who have served the Lord alongside my grandfather for years. It touched my heart to see that they had come from all over the United States – so close to Christmas and through the bad weather – just to say an earthly goodbye to a man they respected.
All of those preachers, and some others who had loved him, spoke about him. The one thing they kept talking about over and over was that he was a man of faith and that he was an uncompromising faithful man who was loyal to the Word of God. I sat there thinking about that. Sometimes, that uncompromising personality spilled over into his personal convictions. I already spoke of Christmas, but I don’t remember him missing one family Christmas get-together. I remember, as a little girl, my sister and I would go and stay with he and Grandma for 2 weeks out of every summer. I remember when jelly shoes were so popular and he wouldn’t let us wear our shoes without socks. I remember the morning devotions that seemed to last for 2 hours! I remember the many lectures on privilege and responsibility. “If you have the privilege to use my toilet, then you have the responsibility to flush it!” I laugh now when I think back and remember these things.
Even though I remember “the cracks in his armor” as my dad described it Friday, I also remember the shiny places too. I remember the times he would take us out to the old airport and let my sister and I ride our roller skates down the runway. I remember him taking us on airplane rides. I remember him letting us help him drive and steer his car. I remember the daily trips to the post office and the bank and he would let us use the tiny key to open his mailbox. I remember lessons on how to read a road map. I remember being taught how to fill out deposit slips for his banking. I remember filling out giant shipping labels and sticking them on boxes of Scripture. As a young wife and mother, I remember the times they would just drop by the house and we would gather around the piano and sing for hours. Speaking of singing, I remember how loud he would sing. He did not care who would look at him. He sang to the Lord and he gave it all he had – and could he ever sing! He had no trouble singing out. His trouble was more about singing whatever words came to his mind and we all chuckle as we remember many songs sung loudly…and wrongly. He didn’t care about that either. He just enjoyed singing. He was like a bull in a china shop. There was nothing suave about this guy. He was jokingly called “Bumbling Bob Adams” and we all loved him for it. I will not even begin to tell all the stories of his escapades, but truly a book could be written. He was quite a guy.
He said something one time that I have never forgotten. Someone had said to him once that he was a great man of God. His reply? “There are no great men of God. There are just ordinary men who serve a great God.” I have loved that and remembered it every time I start to thinking to highly of myself. Another phrase he would always say was, “You are so good to me, and I am so undeserving.” At times, we would laugh and say, “You are right!” but most of the time we thought he was very deserving. He would walk right up to people and say, “Hello, my name is friendly Bob Adams. What’s your name?” and instantly he would have a new friend. You never saw him without a Bible under his arm and a hat on his head. Most of the time, as he talked to you, he would have an arm around your shoulder.
My Grandpa was not a perfect man. His family knew him the best and we knew all of his flaws…just as he knew ours. But we all knew one thing – he loved God with all of His heart and his faith was almost unshakeable. He would say, “Endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” and he not only said that, he lived it. He buried his wife. He has mourned over his children. He has been hurt in the ministry. His health put a stop to his love for flying, and in the end, Alzheimer’s took his mind. But through it all, he never stopped trusting in the Lord and serving him faithfully.
I have asked myself this past week, why was his faith was so strong in the Lord? Why did he stay faithful to the end? Why did he go through much in life and “endure hardness as a good soldier” and I think I have the answer. It was not because he was so much better than all of us. It was not because he had attained a higher level of holiness – remember, I said we knew the chinks. It was not because of his great personality or his positive outlook. It was not because of the way he had of making quotes stick in your head.
It was because he knew His God. You cannot have such strong trust and faith in someone you do not know – I mean really know. You will not serve the Lord decade upon decade unless He is real to you. You will not have that positive outlook and the joy of the Lord unless you know where the source of that joy comes from and you have learned how to tap in on it. You will not have the love for people like he did, unless you understand the love of Jesus in your own life. You will not be passionate about telling the world about Jesus unless you have a heart full of thankfulness for what Jesus did for you. He loved the Word of God and it was precious to Him. His Bible lay in his hands in the casket, but it was always in his heart and on his lips throughout life. Jesus was real to Him. God was alive to Him. His passion was all about Christ. Because God was so real to Him, you never doubted when you were with him. Your faith was always stronger after leaving his presence.
I know my Grandpa. I loved my Grandpa. I am honored to be his granddaughter. I am thankful for the strong example of a life consecrated to Christ. But, the most important thing I will keep in my heart and in my memories is that he knew God. That relationship is what gave him joy, passion, boldness, love and faithfulness. I am so glad that my Grandpa knew our God and that I can know the same God he knew and served. My Grandpa has now passed from this life and into Heaven, but the work remains to be done here. I pray that I can know my God as he knew His and serve Him just as faithfully.