This story is from months ago. Truth be told, it happened only days after we lost Grant. But I have not been able to record it here, until now. This memory, this story, this testimony is precious to me, and to our family. It is something I will tell my grandkids as evidence of God’s nearness when shock, horror, and disbelief threatened to stop our beating hearts. I know there will be those that read this and label it coincidence. But to us, it is a miracle, a gift from God, and an evidence of His love when we thought He’d forgotten us.
We were sitting out back, now 5 where 6 once sat. (plus one…praise the Lord for Mark, our daughter’s precious new husband…grateful beyond words for our plus one!) Dazed and confused, trying to breathe and take it all in, the horror of the last 48 hours. We sat silent, frozen. My phone buzzed, I look down, and there was a text from Josh, Grant’s room mate and brother in the Lord. It simply read, “May the Lord bless you, and keep you, And make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.”
It took my breath away and I immediately called him, without any explanation about what was going on, to my family, as they watched in wonder. Josh picked up the phone and before he could speak I said, “Josh, why did you send me that verse?”
He could sense I was upset and heard the confusion in my voice so he proceeded with trepidation, “Oh, Alisa, I am so, so sorry if it has upset you or caused you pain. It has brought me such comfort these last couple of days, I wanted to send it to you in hopes that it would comfort you as well.” He then proceeded to tell me a story he had not yet had the courage to tell me. But he knew now was the time…
“You know that I got to the hospital only minutes after Grant had died,” he said. “And that Glenn got me permission to go in to see Grant, so I could say good bye.”
I could barely speak, but managed to say, “Yes, sweetie, I know.”
“Well,” he continued, “I kissed him good bye 5 times on the forehead…once for each of you. I told him how much he was loved and how proud you were to call him son and brother. I cried over him and told him how much he would be missed, and then I hugged him good bye. I was about to leave the room, when I felt prompted to go back and pray over him. It was so strong I felt like I physically was unable to leave. I walked back over to Grant, took his hand and prayed what the Lord was putting on my heart, ‘May the Lord bless you, and keep you, And make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.’ I then squeezed his hand, and left the room knowing that would be the last time I saw him this side of Heaven.”
And then he finished with this, “To my knowledge, those were the last earthly words Grant heard. And so I have been thinking about them non-stop. Thinking on them has brought me comfort and I was hoping they would comfort you too.”
But I jumped in, almost before he could finish, “Josh, why that verse? Why did you pray that verse over Grant? Do you know the significance of that verse in our lives?”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about, Alisa,” he said bewildered. Poor Josh was probably wishing right about then that he had never written that text or answered the phone with this crazy, frantic lady on the other end. “It’s just the verse the Lord gave me to pray, I knew that beyond any doubt, so I prayed it. Why do you ask?” he said.
I then gave him the back story. I had prayed that verse over my kids for as many years as I could remember. Whenever we were going to be separated, I would lay my hands on them, and whisper in their ears, “May the Lord bless you, and keep you, And make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace,” They had heard it hundreds of times. I can honestly say, I prayed that verse over Grant more than all of the other scripture I had prayed over him, combined! But no one else knew that. Oh, Grant knew it, and Glenn and our other children. They too had grown up hearing it, having it prayed over them for years; our little way of saying good bye. I even prayed it over Grant, as an adult, when he would leave for his world travels. And of course, God knew it! Josh was completely unaware; but the Lord knew exactly what He was doing that day, the day Josh held Grant’s hand and prayed that scripture over my son, one last time.
And as I gave Josh the back story we all bawled, we were completely undone. In the midst of the most horrific event of our lives, God was reminding us of His nearness, His love, that He hadn’t forgotten us. Knowing that, meant there was purpose to this tragedy. I may never see the purpose or the glory that comes from this, but I know God was there, near to us, and He wanted us to know.
I would find out later, Josh spent the day after Grant’s death, in a recording studio. He sat silently listening to Misha, an amazing young woman of God, a Christian artist, and Josh’s precious girlfriend. She was scheduled to record a song that day for her newest album and with a flow of non-stop tears streaming down his face, Josh sat listening in wonder. What was she recording you ask? Do you even have to ask? It is no surprise to any of us that she was scheduled to record, The Aaronic Benediction that day, which is the verse the Lord had given me for my children when they were babes, and had given Josh, in the hospital, as Grant entered into the gates of Heaven. This is that song and verse; listen and believe.
You can buy the album “Weight of Glory” by Misha Goetz, on iTunes