Sunday, July 1, 2012

How Great Thou Art

My grandmother died in the hospital when she was about 90 years old. I didn’t get to see her right before she died, but my mom told me this story about her death that has always stayed with me. Grandma had been blind since my dad was in high school.  She was amazing and I never heard her complain. She cut her own hair, cleaned her own house, and even had a system that served as a grocery list so my grandpa knew what to buy at the store. But more than the remarkable overcoming of her disability, I will always remember her for her devotion to God. Talking to my grandma about the Lord is my fondest memory of time spent with her.  I love it that she didn't turn from God when her life became difficult, but instead she clung to Him in faith.

Anyway, she got sick and wound up in the hospital at the end. I think it was pneumonia or something. Somewhere along the way she just stopped eating. The doctors realized that she’d decided she was done with this life and they planned to keep her comfortable until she passed. She hadn’t eaten for days and hadn’t spoken to anyone either, but the nurse walked into her bedroom one day and she was singing “How Great Thou Art” at the top of her lungs. She never spoke again after that and she died within days. As far as anyone knows, those are the last words she said aloud.

I sang “How Great Thou Art” at her funeral.  Some people cautioned me when they heard I planned to sing that song. “You’re going break down in the middle of it and that will be bad.” I thought to myself, “If Grandma can get up the strength to sing that song on her deathbed, then I can sing it, too!”  What a way to go, really, with a heart full of worship.

Today we sang “How Great Thou Art” in worship and of course, I thought of her. I’m not sure she would have recognized it, because our young and vibrant worship band sings it the modern way with guitars and drums and keyboard, but it was lovely. I wondered if she could see me from where she is in heaven. Could she see me singing my heart out to this song? Was she singing, too? I smiled and even teared up a little at the thought of her singing her version while I sang mine, both of us at the top of our lungs. I will see her some day, and we will sing it together. J

The last verse and chorus of “How Great Thou Art”

When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation,
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart.
Then I shall bow, in humble adoration,
And then proclaim: "My God, how great Thou art!"

 Then sings my soul, My Savior God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!


Paige said...

this brought tears to my eyes...lovely!

Anita Cory said...

I just teared up as well!

How Great Thou Art always reminds me of my grandfather, who died far to young (67) of a heart attack. It was his favorite hymn and we sang it at the top of our lungs at his funeral, accompanied by an elderly woman on an ancient organ.

Nonetheless, this song brings to to tears every time I hear it. Thank you for sharing!