I was thinking about my grandmother tonight as I was driving through town. An old hymn came to mind and while I was singing it softly to myself, I remembered that it was a favorite of hers. Her name was Gladys but everyone called her “Glad.” I think that she was the happiest, most cheerful person I’ve ever known. We had a joke in our family that when someone exclaimed that they were glad about something, the answer was always, “You’re not glad, Grandma’s “Glad.” The name fit her so well that no one else could claim it.
It wasn’t until I was a teenager that I realized that while part of her cheeriness was personality, a lot of her “gladness” was due to her love for Jesus and what He had done for her. She used to sit at her piano and play and sing hymns, she always talked about how much she loved the Lord, and I believe that He put that gladness in her heart as a result of her great faith and trust in Him. She was only about five feet tall but while her physical stature was small, her faith was enormous.
It wasn’t until tonight that I paused to wonder if my parents named me “Joy” in part because of Grandma. I was a bubbly, cheerful child who loved to laugh and play music and sing, like Grandma. My parents could not have known my personality before I was born and just like Grandma, part of my cheerfulness was due to personality, but I, too, have a depth of joy and gladness that comes not just from my personality but from my relationship with my Lord. His goodness and mercy and love towards me fill my heart to overflowing with gladness. I inherited more than my love of music, recipes for “Grandpa cookies” and authentic New England clam chowder, memories of climbing roses, johnny jump-ups and a hillside of sweet-peas, knowledge of basic crochet stitches, and a pin with photos of my father and grandfather; my heritage is a rich one of generations of people who know the deep, abiding joy that comes with knowing Christ.
So, as I sang the old hymn, I remembered Grandma and how she loved this hymn and it reminded me of how much the Lord has given me, not only from my grandmothers and grandfathers, father and mother, and other family members but perfect peace and rest and trust in Him.
Like a river glorious, is God’s perfect peace,
Over all victorious, in its bright increase;
Perfect, yet it floweth, fuller every day,
Perfect, yet it groweth, deeper all the way.
Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest
Finding, as He promised, perfect peace and rest.
Hidden in the hollow of His blessed hand,
Never foe can follow, never traitor stand;
Not a surge of worry, not a shade of care,
Not a blast of hurry touch the spirit there.
Every joy or trial falleth from above,
Traced upon our dial by the Sun of Love;
We may trust Him fully all for us to do.
They who trust Him wholly find Him wholly true.