Graham- Sweet By & By
Updated: Apr 13
Yesterday…Yesterday was a day when no words could comfort only a clinging warm embrace. The hymn “The Sweet By and By kept repeating itself in my Spirit. The Scripture- “Be Still and Know that I AM GOD”- Psalm 46:10, I meditated on.
It was a day that God appointed. A day when my son’s teen best friend, Graham would be laid to rest- on this earth only. “My soul finds REST in God alone.” Psalm 62:1.
It was a day something unexpected would happen to me and I hope for many others as well. When great sorrow strikes and a loved one is taken away too soon, you wonder… You wonder, why? Why so young? Why him? Why this precious family?
As I sat there in the service celebrating his physically short, but spiritually full lived life, I was deeply impacted by Graham. I realized that in the eleven years that I had known him and watched him grow up, it was actually the tragedy of loosing him that impacted my life more. Through this tragedy I come to know him in a greater way-through the stories of him from his friends, his family. I was able to witness the influence and impact he had on all those around him. Graham had a Savior. His name was Jesus. Graham knew Him very well. It was said that Graham’s greatest desire as a young teen boy was to conquer the task of others seeing Christ through his life. In that moment when Graham’s desire was spoken- it hit me. With uncontrollable tears streaming down my (and everyone else’s) face, Graham’s desire was reality. Graham’s true heart was revealed-Christ in him was revealed and everyone was experiencing it. Suddenly! my Why’s? turned into Why not’s? Graham’s heart was pure. His desire’s were pure. “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God” Matthew 5:8
Could it be that God chose Graham because his short life would change everyone around him? Could it be that through his death so many more would be granted eternal life? Could it be that through his life we all would have a greater desire for Christ to also be seen in us?
One thing I know for sure when Graham opened his eyes on September 14, 2018 he was in the presence of a Holy God. A good God. Graham’s desire for others to see Christ in him was perfected. As an heir with Jesus Christ, he was experiencing eternity that our earthly minds can only imagine and if there are any sports in heaven he was ripping them all up! Then a smile came as I thought, after experiencing heaven and meeting Jesus, Graham wouldn’t even want to come back, he may have even thought ” I wish it wouldn’t have taken me so long to get here”
The last time I saw Graham was in July. I am so thankful God allowed me some more time with him. I distinctly remember the peace that came upon me when he greeted me and I was admiring what a fine young man he had become, and when he departed the sweet hug he gave me and my husband both and he sweetly said “I love you guys.” And that smile–it was a smile you would never forget and you couldn’t help but smile back.
Yesterday was coming to an end. As I lay in bed, emotionally exhausted I thought of Graham’s parents again. Behind every great son is great parents. I prayed for their comfort as they are enduring a pain unexplainable. As my eyes filled with tears once again, my toddler son said “mommy are you still sad?” I replied, “yes honey.” Then he simply said at the grown age of three. “mommy don’t be sad because one day the trumpet will sound and Graham is going to come up and Jesus is going to take us all to heaven.” Me and my husband looked at each other in silent amazement. I was concerned with him throughout the day, wondering if it all was too much for a toddler to take in. I wondered if he should have even been there. Yes, I have been teaching my toddler about Jesus’ return one day, but in that moment the way his little mind was able to put Graham’s death in perspective and comfort his mommy was only the Holy Spirit.
I don’t know if you have ever experienced a great loss like the one I am writing about, but if you have let me encourage you- Look not back, but look ahead for Glory has been prepared for us. When we look upon His face we will surely know that are present sufferings are not comparable to the Glory He has in store for us. As believers what a great hope we have of seeing our loved ones again and living forever with our Savior.
“There’s a land that is fairer than day, And by faith we can see it afar; For the Father waits over the way to prepare us a dwelling place there.
In the sweet by and by, we shall meet on that beautiful shore; in the sweet by and by, we shall meet on that beautiful shore.
We shall sing on that beautiful shore the melodious songs of the blessed; and out spirits shall sorrow no more, not a sigh for the blessing of rest.
To our bountiful Father above, we will offer our tribute of praise for the glorious gift of His love and the blessings that hallow our days. –Lyrics of Sweet By and By.
The following scripture inspired Graham’s life. It reflected his desire for others to see Christ in him. May it ring in our ears, dance in our souls, throughout all our remaining days. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, old things has passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
Today’s writing is in honor of a sweet little boy I come to know and love-
Graham Alexander Wood
See you soon buddy (Big Smile)