My maternal grandmother, Eloise Ham, was raised alongside fourteen brothers and sisters in rural Timmonsville, South Carolina. She learned the value of hard work by caring for her younger siblings and performing her daily duties on the family farm. Tom Brokaw was right when he labeled her and her peers, The Greatest Generation. They taught us the value of an honest day’s work, the necessity for loving our neighbors and what it means to fear God. But the most valuable lessons my grandmother taught me were the ones she lived.
After she passed away, her worn Bibles remained as a physical testimony of what it means to weather life’s storms faithfully. Each day, His Word was her anchor and the hope for her soul.
My grandmother had a favorite saying, “This too shall pass.” To her, those words weren’t just a cliche platitude, they were hidden in her heart. Even in her darkest hour, when my Grandfather, committed suicide during a battle with lung cancer, she never wavered from living the truth contained in those four words.
This too shall pass.
The Storm Rages On
I’ll never forget the day when I learned that Grandma Ham was dying. Her cancer had progressed and multiple complications emerged. Yet despite her condition, I found her reading the newspaper when I walked into her hospital room.
I sat on the edge of her bed and wept uncontrollably. She was a staple in my life—a calm amid the storms—and I was unsure how I would navigate the world without her in it. But in the midst of my tears, she remained steadfast. She gently placed her weathered hand on my shoulder and softly assured me, “It’ll be just fine, Matt. This too shall pass.”
I knew her condition wasn’t going to improve, but her confidence gave me peace that transcended her death. It’s as if she greeted death with a smile Her assurance had been forged through years of testing. Like a diamond cooked under pressure, it was rock solid. She died with grace and dignity that exemplified her own life’s slogan.
“This too shall pass.”
I was given the honor of speaking at her memorial service. As I delivered her eulogy, I emphasized her vibrancy and how she stared death in the eye with a smile. Then, I challenged those in attendance to live their own lives with such fervent faith. As I closed, I shared her favorite phrase as an encouragement to the hundreds in attendance.
The Anchor Holds
When storm clouds form and the rumble of thunder can be heard in the distance, our faith begins to shake. During these moments of doubt we question God and we question ourselves. But when the rain falls violently and the wind howls, our questions become our curses as we scream at our Creator for allowing such pain.
At Grandma’s funeral, I sang a song called The Anchor Holds. I can still hear the words today and the tears flow as they bring back the memory of losing her. But it’s the closing line that gives me hope every time.
“I have fallen on my knees
as I face the raging seas,
but the anchor holds
in spite of the storm.”
The pain of life is real, but Grandma Ham taught me to hold fast to the Anchor of Hope when our circumstances seem doubtful.
King Solomon said that God has set eternity within the human heart. In a world that searches for life and fulfillment and contentment in countless empty promises, the hope of eternity is the only thing that satisfies. That may seem cliché and naive, but I realize now that my grandmother died with so much grace and dignity because she hoped for eternity more than she hoped for the temporary pleasures of the world.
To her, life was only the beginning. And she began well. I pray that the same will be true for us.
In the midst of your own struggles today, remember that hope never disappoints. And when it seems bleak, know that this too shall pass.