The Last Letter of a Godly Grandfather

Recently my wife’s parents moved out of their home of many years.  In sorting through their files, they came across the typewritten, hand-edited letter in the picture.  This letter was from Miriam’s grandfather, Lubertus “Bert” Hoeksema, who intended them to read it on the day of his funeral.  He went to be with the Lord in 1990, and it is clear from the dates these thoughts were on his mind for many years.  

Reading it made me thankful for the godly family into which I married, and for the faith and prayers of this humble laborer that span generations of time.  I reproduce it here with only slight edits.  

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To my dear beloved Children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren,

What thoughts went through your minds today when you have viewed my earthly remains for the last time?  My last prayer in your behalf has been offered.  May they follow you to the end of your days is my last and earnest prayer.  I dearly loved and thanked God for each one of you and so did mother.  My GREATEST REGRET is that I did not display or reveal it more (Eph. 6:4).  Mother’s prayers have followed us, I know. (Heb. 11:4b; Mark 14:8a; Phil. 4:19)  My parting advice is: meditate much in the Word of God, pray without ceasing, listen to His voice, and let Him do the talking.  (Jos. 1:8, I Cor. 13, Num. 32:23b, Mat. 6:33, Rom 6:23, Rom. 8:1, Isa. 1:18, John 17:24, I Cor. 15, I Thess. 4:13-18)

While we are separated the one from the other I know God will take care of you.  He is able to keep you from slipping or falling away, and bring you sinless and perfect into His glorious presence with mighty shouts of everlasting joy.  In the meantime I commit each one of you to His kind care and keeping until we meet again, praying that not one of us will be missing in that great family reunion in the sky.  “What a day that will be.”  God has been so good to me all my life in giving me Godly grandparents, parents, wife (Phil. 4:19 – she filled my need), grandchildren, and as far as I know great-grandchildren.

I have seen many things change during my lifetime – great improvements in the material world, standard of living, inventions, etc.  However I am sorry to say that I cannot say this about the spiritual realm.  Our forefathers left their homeland and friends to have freedom of religion. (Gen. 19:14).  They suffered  all kinds of hardships, walked to church in all kinds of weather to attend church twice each Sunday while today many churches only have ONE service and do not attend that during inclement weather with an automobile in the garage.  Bed on Sunday morning and blue tube in the evening is more important.  And when the children turn to all kinds of cults when they had absolutely no doctrinal training in the churches where the parents attended, who is to blame?  When they get married contrary to 2 Cor. 6:13-15 are they to blame?????  (Prov. 22:6)  What were our example & priorities?

I ponder on these things more and more as my days are drawing to a close and soon the curtain on my life will be drawn for the LAST time.  What have I done with the moments God has allotted to me?   What kind of training have I given you?  What kind of example have I been as a father and husband?  One day soon I will have to give an account of that, and not to an earthly judge, but to the JUDGE of the universe.  I am thinking of the hymn “Nothing but Leaves.” It is sort of late in life to start to think about these things at my age if we have not given them a thought before.

Mother was so thankful for each one of you and so am I.  Thank you for what you have meant and done for me.  God will reward you I am sure.  All eternity will not be long enough to thank God for His grace and mercy and compassion, love, etc. shown me during my lifetime.  Begin each day thanking the Lord for your Godly Mother (4/18/85).  “To God be the Glory.”  Farewell, and God be with you till we meet again on Resurrection Morning, beseeching God that our family circle will be unbroken.  May the God of peace provide you with every good thing you need in order to do His will, and may He, through Jesus Christ, do in you what pleases Him.  And to Christ be all the glory forever and ever! (Prov. 3:5-7, Acts 20:32)

Your Father

October 15, 1978 (& 1985 & 86-88)

14 Comments

  1. kengsmith November 12, 2012 at 3:35 pm #

    Barry…

    As a grandfather in mid-eighties, I was touched by Miriam’s dad’s letter. What a legacy! And what satisfaction he enjoyed as he wrote that letter. That’s indeed a keeper!

    (I don’t think I’m getting through on the “comments” system of Gentle Reformation, so I’m sending it this way.)

    Blessings…

    KenG

    • Barry York November 12, 2012 at 5:40 pm #

      Ken,

      Your comment did make it through! Thank you.

      (Note: I edited out the personal note at the end.)

  2. Terrie van Baarsel November 13, 2012 at 12:14 am #

    What a treasure you found!

  3. Brenda November 13, 2012 at 12:35 am #

    Thank you, Barry and Miriam, for sharing this treasure and blessing your “extended” family with the wisdom this Godly man has shared with your family. Much to ponder and sweet reminders of assured peace to cling to while caring for the wee little one in the night…

  4. Laurel November 15, 2012 at 8:21 am #

    What a sweet gift! I started writing letters to my husband & children after having a dream where I was dying & realized I still had so much to tell them. I decided last month to give them all the letters while I am here instead of waiting until I am gone…they need to have my love for them now in writing. Thanks for sharing this, he must have been a wonderful godly man!

  5. Sandra November 15, 2012 at 9:40 am #

    Soooooo precious. What a treasure is the letter, and more so the man, and even more so the savior. Thanks for sharing. Motivates me to live the Truth today, and love and reach out to my family and neighbors. Thanks again.

  6. Barry York November 15, 2012 at 9:48 am #

    Thank you to those above for your comments and further thoughts. I’m glad it encouraged you. Yes, Laurel, he was a wonderful man.

  7. Brandon Fisher November 15, 2012 at 5:32 pm #

    It is really good to meditate on the words of a godly man who has run the race ahead of me. His pastoral and fatherly exhortations brought a tear to my eye and stirred my heart anew with strength for my race ahead. Thanks for sharing that.

    • Barry York November 16, 2012 at 12:23 pm #

      Glad it encouraged you, Brandon.

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