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Thank You, Lord. Thank You, Grandpa.

I apologize for the lack of published posts here lately, but my 95-year-old grandfather went home to be with the Lord yesterday after several days in the ICU.

While this is only the third death of a close family member that I've had to personally experience in my 34 years on this planet, one thing is absolutely crystal clear to me. Faith in Jesus Christ is the comfort and hope that people need most in times like this. Without it, I don't know how people get through the loss a loved one.

Here's a little something I put together in honor of my Grandpa Balcer. Hopefully, it will give you a better idea of the kind of man that he was.

Revelation 21:4-5 "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. And he who was seated on the throne said, 'Behold, I am making all things new.' Also he said, 'Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.'"

I thank God for the extra time He gave us with my grandfather the past 2 weeks – what a true blessing indeed! Grandpa always said that “you can tell if a person has personality if they’re smiling” and, if that’s true, then he was Mr. Personality himself! He loved the life he was given by God, believed with all his heart that God had given him a specific purpose in this life, and loved God’s people even more. I don’t think there was a complete stranger at Costanza’s, Tops, The Galleria Mall, and the numerous Nursing Homes in the local WNY area who didn’t have a brief interaction with him at some point in their lives. He was always talking to people, making friends, and telling them all his jokes and stories.

Looking back after getting to spend 34 years with him, it’s fair to say that the Lord used him to teach me so much, and as we both got older, it was nice to be able to return the favor and teach him a few important things as well. Still, those who knew him well will never forget the “Balcerisms” that he offered free of charge whenever you saw him or talked to him. Things like, “Who was the only President to never live in the White House?” and “How many toes does an Ostrich have?” And I know my own kids (his great-grandchildren) will never forget the holidays when they’d get to see him take his dentures out or learn how to fistfight properly. In Grandpa Balcer’s own words, he always said “I’m not fast, but I’m steady” and that he was a man who “used ingenuity, and when that doesn’t work, I use my prerogative even though I don’t know what the heck that word means!” Yes, he may have went to college in just one day (“In the front door, and out the back door”), but the impact his life had on our family as well as the countless strangers that God put in his path over the years will surely last for more than a single day. So, goodbye for now Grandpa, “I’ll be suin’ ya – I mean seein’ ya” soon or “when two Sundays get together.”

Please continue to keep me and my family in your prayers at this time.

In a Lutheran Layman's terms, I would like to echo Luther's words on this subject: "What more should God do to persuade you to accept death willingly and not to dread but to overcome it? ... [God] lays your sin, your death, and your hell on his dearest Son, vanquishes them, and renders them harmless for you."


About JKR

Christian. Husband. Father. Friend.

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