Orville Eugene West
married to my grandma Clara Elizabeth for 54 years
father of 12
grandfather of 84
great grandfather of 285
great great grandfather of 5
I am so thankful to be Orville & Betty’s granddaughter. I am the oldest granddaughter and my aunt Becka is only 16 months older than me. As I reflect on the years gone by I think of how loving my grandparents were. My constant encouragers and my biggest fans. Surely they are a big part of what makes me a dreamer. They convinced me I could do anything. They thought our songs were beautiful and our impromptu comedy plays were hilarious. In their eyes most everything we did was positively brilliant. One time my grandpapa told me in a confidential tone that I was his favorite granddaughter and told me not to tell all the others. For years I felt extra special until one day I broke my promise not to tell and gloatingly told one of my cousins the news. It turns out grandpa told her the same thing. One fine day me and Becka made these useless yarn fluffs to hang over the car mirror and our parents were so impressed with them that we decided to start a full-time business and get rich selling useless yarn fluffs. We sold about four to family members before running out of adoring customers. But that’s okay because we just moved onto our next dream. Another day we spent hours writing a song about Jesus. It was a simple heartfelt song with some random lines because —you know—if a word rhymed nicely you use it whether it made sense or not. Of course grandpa thought it was spectacular and he lovingly took the time to put music to it. Then just like that we were professional song writers. I still feel special when I pull out that sheet music. Becka should sing it for you next time we get together.
I realize now what a privilege it was to grow up in such a loving atmosphere. I think of Paul’s words to the Thessalonians:
“encourage one another and build one another up”
They did that for us. Not only by praising our antics but more importantly they built us up and encouraged us with the Word of God. They would fill the house with song. Grandpa at the piano as we all gathered around with our voices and various instruments. Many a night throughout my childhood I would fall asleep to hymns.
My grandparents were not the conventional sort and I’m glad because if they were there would be no such thing as “West stories”. Part of their life was lived in a school bus and on the bean fields.
My grandpa suffered tremendously here on earth. He was plagued by doubt and fear. Especially after my grandma died twelve years ago. How glad I am that Jesus knows. How glad I am that salvation is not dependent on us. How glad I am that salvation is not a feeling or an emotion. How glad I am that Christ is mighty enough to save through our doubt and fear—that we can say “I believe! Help my unbelief!” and our merciful Savior replies “look to Me, and be saved!”
Grandpa doubted but he looked to Jesus to be saved. Constantly. Over and over again. That is all that matters.
Charles Spurgeon said this in one of his sermons:
“The strong are not always vigorous, the wise not always ready, the brave not always courageous, and the joyous not always happy. The life of Luther might suffice to give a thousand instances, and he was by no means of the weaker sort. His very deathbed was not free from tempests, and he sobbed himself into his last sleep like a great wearied child.”
I believe; help my unbelief.
Doubt is part of our fallen human nature. We can acknowledge our doubt and fear, wrestle with it, and then reject it. Take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ. That is the battle of flesh and Spirit.
Faith is walking forward despite our doubt and fear. Faith is riding out the storm and trusting God to restore our hope. We can trust His Word even when we can’t “feel” it.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God”.
The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.
My grandpa’s mind is now completely free of doubt as he basks in the glorious presence of our Lord. Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever!