On October 10, we welcomed Joshua William Rainer into the world. He is my seventh grandchild. I am blessed beyond measure. I already love him so much.
I know you have come to expect my articles to deal primarily with issues in the local church. So forgive me for taking a different and personal path this time. I think you will soon understand why.
A Grandson in Heaven
I told the story of the life and death of William Thomas Rainer in a post some time ago. You heard about the courage and testimony of his parents, Jess and Rachel Rainer.
While all of my grandchildren have a special place in my heart, Will is the grandchild who carries both my name (Thomas) and his dad’s name (Jess William Rainer). When Will died, I was amazed to see the depth of grief apparent in both of his uncles, Sam Rainer and Art Rainer. You see, my three sons love their families intensely, and they love each other as well.
A Grandson with Us
My oldest son, Sam, and his wife Erin welcomed their daughter, Bren, into the world a year ago. Had Bren not been a girl, the boy would have been named Jess, in honor of Sam’s youngest brother.
Now we have a fourth grandson, Joshua William Rainer. Note the middle name. Joshua’s parents made the decision to name their son after our grandson who died, Will, as well as Will’s dad.
I know these names are confusing, so let me simplify them. Jess lost a son. Both of his brothers chose to name their sons after Jess or his deceased son. Their love for their brother is so great that they wanted his family name to be a part of their families.
The Joy of Family
As I sat in the hospital room holding Joshua, I marveled at this gift of life. I dreamed and wondered how God would use him. I began to pray for him at that very moment. I prayed for his salvation. I prayed for his health. And I prayed that, if God so willed it, he would one day have a godly wife.
And then I heard Joshua’s dad, Art, speaking. I heard him tell how Joshua William Rainer was named for Art’s brother and for his nephew who is in heaven. I marveled again at how much my three sons love each other.
You see, like you, I’m a pretty busy person. And you who are pastors especially feel the constant demands upon your time. But at that moment I got it. There will always be tasks to accomplish and others to see. But family is what really matters. Family is where our true legacies are formed. Family is where our joy is found.
There will be a day so very soon when no one will remember the tasks we had to accomplish at that very moment to the neglect of our families. But your son will never forget your playing ball with him. Your daughter will never forget those daddy-daughter dates that shaped her for a lifetime.
Please slow down and give your families the time they deserve. See them as the gift they are. See them as the joy they are.
And may I be so presumptuous to ask you to pray for my new grandson, Joshua William Rainer? Would you pray for his life, both temporal and eternal?
I love him so much.
I love my family so much.