Monday, May 30, 2011

A Hero Of Another Sort

Its been a blessing for me to celebrate this Memorial Day in the U.S.A. As many of you know, last year I had a, ah, little bit of a hard time adjusting to being in Canada. :) Being out of the country for a year and now being back has made me appreciate my American heritage so much.

My heart goes out to those that are suffering today from the lost of a loved one or the separation of a loved one in the military. My mind travels to those overseas, desperately missing the comforts of home and family. I am filled with gratitude for those sacrificing their lives for our country.

I have not personally experienced this separation of having a loved one in the military. But I would like to tell you the story today of the one in my family who has fought a different battle for his family's freedom.

Norman Gower suffered a great deal in his teenage years with congestive heart failure, spending time in Arizona to try to improve his health. Because of his heart problems, he was not permitted to enter the military.

Instead he married, raised five children, and through much hard work and determination built a business and became a comparatively wealthy man. His family enjoyed many comforts that he was able to provide for them. He was, by the world's standards, living the American dream.

But when he was in his 30's, his life was changed forever when he found Christ, and accepted Him as Saviour. His life took a drastically different direction; now, instead of seeking wealth and prestige, he was seeking a deeper relationship with God. He enjoyed that fellowship for the next 40 years.

His life was also changed in other ways. During the years he walked with Christ, he was misunderstood by others, even other Christians. He was mocked and ridiculed for his deep relationship with Christ. He lost all his wealth and comforts due to the dealings of a deceitful business partner. He was fighting a battle. A battle not only for his own spiritual life, but also for the spiritual life of his family.

He passed away at the age of 72, quietly, comfortably, in his favorite chair. He sat down and his heart simply stopped, weakened by all those years of heart failure. Did he die wealthy? Not monetarily, no. Did he die with all the creature comforts that our world labels "success?" No. As it is said of Enoch, in the Old Testament, "Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him." (Genesis 5:24) Norman Gower walked with God, until God took him home.

But was it worth it? Was the battle he fought called Christianity worth all the pain and sacrifice? Did he get the victory? Or was his battle all in vain?

I'll let you be the judge. Consider this: From Norman Gower's 5 children came 15 grandchildren. From those 15 grandchildren came 22 grandchildren (as of right now), with one in the oven, so to speak. :) All together, there are roughly 52 of Norman Gower's descendants that are right now walking with the Lord, living for him, and being brought up in God-fearing homes. Out of those 52 there are 5 pastors, several deacons, many that have taken short or long-term missions trips, and a couple dozen Christian families all striving to make a difference for Him. So tell me, how well was the battle fought?

Yes, it was a different battle than what most today are thinking of. But I am forever indebted to Norman Gower, my grandfather, for fighting his battle that allowed me the freedom of a Christian home. He displayed for me what the Christian life is all about, and left a legacy for me to pass on to my children.

"I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing."
II Timothy 4:7-8

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