PAPA Will Not Laugh At You!

cloud of wittenesses

 

 

 

 

 

There are some moments being a grandpa that just grip your heart. This past Friday I returned home late in the evening from a wedding rehearsal dinner with my bride Valerie of almost 31 years, and my grandson, Josiah whom is an incredibly intelligent four year old boy. It was an incredibly beautiful evening with the stars shining bright that I decided that I would go outside and just enjoy the evening watering my lawn with the hose.  I was out in the backyard for about five minutes when my grandson walks out the door out to the lawn and is looking up at the sky. He does not see me because I am off in the corner of the yard and it is very dark. While looking at the stars he begins to shout at the top of his lungs, “Mommy I love you and you are beautiful and very sweet!” He catches his breath and raises his arms to shout, “Daddy, you are the best daddy in the world!” I begin walking towards Josiah and I ask, “Josiah, what are you doing?” I can tell that I startled him because he got this look on his face that made me aware that he thought he was alone. He answered me in almost a whisper, “PAPA it’s you – well, I do not want to tell you because maybe you would laugh at me.” I quickly responded with my heart melting in my love for him because of the sincerity of his response, ‘PAPA WOULD NEVER LAUGH AT YOU!” He then hesitated a moment and said, “Okay PAPA, I saw a show that said the stars were angels and if you shouted good things about the people you love they will go and tell the people what you said about them.” This was an important “Grandpa Moment” and I knew that I needed to respond well. I joyfully exclaimed to Josiah, “You know I am going to stand right here with you and shout with you.” He hugged me and said, “You’re the best PAPA!” We took hands and together looked up at the sky and he yelled, “Daddy you are the best!” I then yelled, “Dad you have been gone a long time but I know I will see you again.” Josiah shouts out, “Mommy you are so sweet and I love you.” I then shout out, “Grandpa, I know you are part of the cloud of witnesses and you can see me running my race for Christ!”

When we had finished Josiah asked me, “PAPA, who was your grandpa that you were shouting too?” I responded with tears in my eyes, “He is your great, great-grandfather who is in heaven.” He has a look pondering my answer and he then asks me, “You are sad because you miss him?” I responded picking him up, “I am a little sad but I know I will be with him some day but I am real happy that I got to shout with you.” Josiah hugged me and declared, Thank You PAPA – You’re the best!”

In reflecting back on this moment this grandfather thinks he moved a little closer to understanding what the writer of Hebrews in 12:1 meant when he wrote, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off the sin that so easily entangles and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” The cloud of witnesses that the writer of Hebrews presents are all the people who have lived for Christ and have graduated into heaven who are now cheering us on our race. My grandson gave me a gift that night and that is help his grandpa understand that those who have gone on are part of the cloud of witnesses cheering us on in our race for Jesus Christ! Maybe if from now when this grandfather has graduated from this life. Josiah will look up into the sky at the stars holding the hand of his grandson saying, “Let me tell you about the night that my grandfather did not laugh at me and I got to shout with him good things about people. Grandpa is now part of the cloud of witnesses cheering me and you on in our race.”

I need to go now because I have an appointment in my back yard. Time to shout at some stars!

About PastorAl

Al Soto has been married to his incredible wife Valerie for 30 years and they have five sons and one grandson. Al has been in Local Church Ministry for 35 years as both as a Lead Pastor, Associate Pastor, and for five years as a Regional Overseer for his denomination. He has a BA degree from LIFE Pacific College and is currently completing an MA in Leadership & Spiritual Formation from Vanguard University. He currently resides in Lincoln, CA where he is the new Lead Pastor for one of the Campus locations for Bayside Church. He continues to coach High School Football for the Lincoln Fighting Zebras for the Junior Varsity Program and is facilitating Leadership training and coaching as well as facilitating Spiritual Retreats. His hobbies include Golfing and Scuba Diving as well as he is a veracious reader. His Life Statement is “Real Success is Helping others to Succeed!”
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