Friday, January 11, 2008

Tribute to Tony Groves Sr.

My heart is heavy as I write this. Tony Groves Sr was a wonderful man - a godly husband, father, servant, and OVERJOYOUS son of the King.

I'm so sad that we've lost such a great man as Tony. I can't help but contemplate why God would take someone like him home so soon when he could have had such a longer impact for His Kingdom. And yet, I know God has a plan through all of this and there's a much bigger picture than what I can see with my little human eyes.

I know Tony's wife and kids are also just as wonderful and are praising God right now for Tony's amazing life and service. And yet I know they will miss him in so many ways - his contagious smile, his laugh, his voice echoing through the halls of their home just like it did the halls/stairwells/garage of Harvest, his totally on fire attitude for God, and his amazing servant's heart.

I remember when I first met Tony and his family. Tony gave me a great big hug and called me his sister in the Lord. The first time he met my mom he gave her a big hug too and said "hey mom". To Tony, everyone was family, everyone was deeply loved and cared for. I know my husband will sorely miss him. Tim does not have many close friends. Tony deeply cared about Tim & I. We could never get ahold of him... he was always so busy and had so much energy until the past year or so... but when we did see him, he lit up our lives so bright, we will never forget him.

May more people come to know Christ through Tony's death - that they will see the light he carried for Christ for so many years still shines bright, because we will see Tony again when we join him and our Savior someday in heaven. We feel his loss here on earth so desperately, but we rejoice that we will see him again and that now he is in no more pain or sorrow, but instead he's seeing his Savior face-to-face. For that we are very thankful.

This also helps remind us to seize the day. Tim & I had been meaning to go see him for a while now. We went to see him in the hospital in early December after returning from our goodbye visit with my grandma, only to find out after a long process that he'd been released from the hospital. We'd been meaning to get over to their house for weeks now but with my grandma's death it kept pushing us further away from making it there. Just think, we were hoping to go this weekend. How sad. We will still go, but Tony's familiar, smiley although weakened in recent months, face will not greet us again here on earth. The last time I saw him he had been doing so much better... the treatments were going well and he was back to having a lot of strength. I hadn't seen him since he'd gone downhill again in recent months, and now I'm so full of sorrow that I didn't see him one last time. What a strong reminder to all of us to remember to live our lives to the absolute fullest - seize every opportunity that's given to you because you never know when it may either be your last or the last of someone you dearly love. Let's all stop and remember to seize this day and make the most out of it for God's Kingdom and His glory alone.

1 comment:

Robert said...

When they announced Tony's death on Sunday I felt like I lost a friend. I only met Tony once but saw his faithful service week after week. He gave my family and myself the feeling every Sunday that we truly were loved. I spoke to my wife yesterday and said how every individual is unique and some, moreso than others. At some point we each face our mortality and that uniqueness vanishes along with us. I think it is a blessing that we are so gifted individually that nobody else can replace us. Tony was the shining example of that. We miss him because we know he was very unique and can not be replaced. I pray that myself and others will see what Tony had and reach toward that mark he set. I don't understand his passing either but I have seen quite a bit of not understanding in my life. All we can do is realize God has our best interest in mind and for times like this we will just have to wait and see. It just amazes me how God used Tony in such a short amount of time. I know he impacted hundreds of lives and who could ask for anymore than that. I was also thinking last night that there should be some type of hall of fame picture gallery at the campuses of ordinary church members who made a difference. Tony would be my first selection. I hope I will never forget him and seeing his picture would be a constant reminder to me of what a difference God can make when we serve Him with our whole heart. I will miss Tony but know I will get to see him again to thank him. I wrote a poem a few days ago and I think it is perfect for this situation.

Why?

The sky...I stop and wonder
Why does it look so blue?

At night why does the moon glow bright
With stars that twinkle too?

Why should I get the blessings
That God has granted me?

While in those times of suffering
I ask why must this be?

Why do I lose my loved ones?
I see others grieving too

Today my heart cries, Why?
As I say this prayer to You

I know You always hear me
God please listen to my cry

His voice then softly spoke to me
Sometimes...you won’t know why

rlv 1/09/2008

I was on my way to church and God spoke to me about just trusting in Him no matter what situation I may face in this life. He made me realize that for the many things I may experience, He does not have to show me why. All I have to do, as a Christian, is trust in Him and all the (Why’s) will be answered when I see Him in Heaven.

Blessings, Robert