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Safe at Home—at Last!

“Safe at Home”

(a poem for when I die)

By Richard L. Grisham,

February 1982 / Revised January 1992

This is a poem for when I die,
It may be far, it may be nigh,
But death for me will be sweet bliss
For Christ is mine and I am His!

When I die for me you’ll mourn,
But though you grieve, be not forlorn;
Let fall your tears, t’will help you cope,
But sorrow not as if no hope.

I am not dead, I’ve simply gone,
To mansions in my Father’s home,
To be with Christ, Whom I adore,
For Whom my heart is longing for.

From earth my soul to glory slips,
With salvation’s story on my lips,
So sing some songs of joy and praise,
And Jesus’ name in honor raise.

To all my family, I entreat,
Shed all your tears at Jesus’ feet,
Like Mary brave, who long ago,
Fell to His feet her love to show.

Who washed them with her tender hands
And dried them with her hair’s soft strands,
Then poured her ointment out, so rare;
It filled the house with fragrance fair.

Once more this day great glory bring
To Jesus Christ our Heavenly King;
Let sorrow deep more clearly prove
How deeply now the Lord you love!

My dearest ones, please do not fear,
For Christ your Lord is standing near,
And in His arms you’ll solace find
And comfort for your troubled mind.

My greatest joy right now would be,
For all of you who mourn for me,
That each of you might know my Lord,
And take Him at His holy Word!

What joy we all someday shall share
When we shall meet in heaven there.
Only a while—t’will not be long,
We’ll sing together heaven’s songs!

We’ll lift the name of Jesus higher,
And praise Him for His saving power,
And angels tell of Calvary’s Hill
While marv’ling at his wonders still!

I love you all—love has no end!
So sing those songs of praise again.
My battle’s fought! The vict’ry’s won!
Now I’m resting safe at home.

After Richard’s death, we found his poem, “Safe at Home,” which he had penned 40 years earlier. When he wrote “Safe at Home,” he could not have known that the last seven years before his death, he would be tortured by Alzheimer’s and his mind and memory would leave him. God, however, in His amazing providence, inspired Richard to write the words that bring comfort to our hearts today.

Richard had grown up on a farm, and his parents loved the Lord and made sure their children were taught about God. At the age of nine, Richard accepted the Lord Jesus Christ into his heart, and at the early age of eleven, he felt God call him to be a preacher. His mother enrolled her children in a Bible memory program, and in his teen years, Richard began memorizing Bible verses. The program was in the summer when school was out and consisted of memorizing 12 verses a week for the 12 weeks of summer. At the end of each week, he had to quote the 12 verses to the pastor of his church. Thus began Richard’s great love for the Bible. He spent countless hours each summer memorizing and studying God’s Word. And he began writing down what God was teaching him in the form of poetry.

Richard and I met in 1967 while we were freshmen attending Wayland Baptist University in Plainview, Texas. From the beginning, Richard told me he was going to be a preacher. I could understand why—he had a great love of God’s Word and studied it a lot! Even on our dates he would bring his Bible and share with me what he was studying and what he understood God was saying to him. I knew Richard’s first love was God and His Word.

We married in 1969—on a Friday, the thirteenth. During the wedding ceremony, ominous tornado warnings were going off, the wind was howling, and rain was pouring down. But as we left the church, God provided a huge, beautiful rainbow in a perfectly clear sky. We took it as a sign that God had great blessings in store for us as we started our life together.

I learned right away that it was not always easy being married to a preacher! I learned real fast that I was in trouble whenever Richard brought his Bible out. But I also learned real fast that I needed to know God’s Word and be ready to respond to him. Our first fight happened soon after we were married. I don’t remember what it was about, but I was upset, jumped into bed, and rolled over away from Richard. He would not turn the light off and stated: “The Bible says not to go to bed mad, so we aren’t going to sleep until we get this settled!” In no mood to respond, I just lay there. He then pulled all the covers off the bed and insisted we would not go to bed angry with each other. I don’t remember exactly what happened next, but I learned a very valuable lesson: Richard really believed the Bible!

For 42 years, Richard and I crisscrossed Texas and New Mexico, pastoring small churches and raising our two sons and a daughter. Richard’s heart was always for the church. He loved the church, prayed over the church, and shed tears for the church. Accepting the great burden and responsibility of pastoring, he trusted God to guide us, and he worked hard at reaching the towns for Christ. During our many years in ministry, God proved over and over that He was our Provider, our Protector, our everything. It was not always easy, but God never let us down. Believing in God’s Word and trusting the truth written in the Bible was very easy for Richard. He knew God, talked with Him, and wanted more than anything to be an instrument God could use to tell people about Jesus.

In 2015 after undergoing treatment for prostate cancer, Richard’s strength was diminished to the point that he could not keep up with his pastoral responsibilities. We moved to Hurst, Texas, to be near our children and grandchildren. Shortly after moving, Richard began showing signs of Alzheimer’s. The disease took away the man who had always been so kind, caring, and optimistic and changed him into a completely different person. The seven years were long and the road rough until on August 16, 2022, God mercifully came for him and took him to his long-awaited heavenly home.

Richard lived his life in the light of eternity: his future home in heaven with the Lord he loved. His life is a testimony of what an awesome God we have. He wanted everyone to know God’s love and that Christ died on the cross for them, so that by believing in Him, they too could join him in heaven someday.

Richard’s passing has left a hole in my heart, but he left a legacy to be shared with his children and grandchildren and everyone who needs to know the wonderful God he served. A gifted writer, Richard left us over 270 of his poems—some funny, some serious—and numerous articles he wrote for church newsletters and town newspapers. He also wrote songs—even a Christmas cantata that was performed at one of our churches.

In the Foreword to one of his books of poetry, he wrote these words: “I don’t claim to be a great spokesman for God, but I know when He speaks to my own heart. Sometimes He convicts me by my own preaching and often by His written Word. But always, it is by His Spirit. My desire is that somehow by God’s grace those things that God has made real in my own heart will become real to you too.”

Velma Grisham served in ministry alongside her husband, Richard, for 42 years. An accomplished artist, she finds solace when alone in her studio and when studying her Bible. She teaches a senior adult ladies’ class at her church. Velma lives in Hurst, Texas, near her three children and five adorable grandchildren.

Article Link: http://ccmusa.org/read/read.aspx?id=chg20230104
To reuse online, please credit Challenger, Jan-Mar 2023. CCMUSA.